WWU four dominates national qualifying heat, advances to grand final

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Varsity 4 bow Katya Hewitt
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Varsity 4 bow Katya Hewitt
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

May 30, 2014

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Western Washington University varsity four dominated its qualifying heat Friday, winning by over a minute in advancing to Sunday's grand final at the 13th annual NCAA Division II National Women's Rowing Championships being held at the Indianapolis Rowing Center in Eagle Creek Park.

The Vikings' varsity eight placed second and now must finish among the top two in a repechage heat Saturday morning (7:30 a.m. PT) to reach the grand final. It posted the second fastest time of the two eight qualifying heats,

WWU's four, which has not lost to a Division II school this season, glided over the 2,000-meter course in 7:54.6. Mercyhurst PA was clocked in 8:57.6.

"That was a strong run down the course by them," said WWU head coach John Fuchs (16th year). "And the time was good, especially considering that they weren't pushed."

Seated in the Vikings' four were coxswain Kate Nelson (Jr.., Moscow, ID), stroke Audra Massey (Jr., Albuquerque, NM), No.3 Jenny Chang (Fr., Sammamish/Int. School of Beijing), No.2 Olivia Gangmark-Strickland (So., Bainbridge Island), and bow Katya Hewitt (So., Bellingham).

Defending national champion Nova Southeastern FL won the second four qualifying heat in 8:01.7, three boat lengths ahead of Humboldt State, which was clocked in 8:13.2.

Sunday's four grand final is slated for 6:30 a.m. PT.

In the second eight qualifying heat, Humboldt State edged the Vikings by one-half boat length with Central Oklahoma a distant third. The Lumberjacks' winning time was 6:53.6 and WWU was clocked in 6:55.7. Those were the fastest two times of the two heats.

"I thought they had a good heat except for a couple of things we need to clean up," Fuchs said. "Otherwise, I think it's anybody's game."

Making up WWU's eight were coxswain Maeghan Callegari (Jr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), stroke Catrina Cuadra (Sr., Lake Stevens), No.7 Regan Wessman (Sr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), No.6 Lauren Ramstead (Sr., Everson/Nooksack Valley), No.5 Megan Marler (So., Morrison, CO/D'Evelyn), No.4 Olivia Rowland (Sr., Seattle/Holy Names), No.3 Christine Henie (Sr., Chugiak, AK), No.2 Emily Bartlett (Fr., Broadlands, VA/Thomas Jefferson S&T), and bow Emily Little (So., Port Angeles/Peninsula CC).

Nova Southeastern won the first heat in 6:56.5, a boat length ahead of runner-up Barry FL (7:00.6). Mercyhurst was third in 7:27.0.

In Saturday's eight repechage heat will be WWU, Barry, Mercyhurst and Central Oklahoma.

"We've got to focus on tomorrow," said Fuchs. "That's our main goal right now. Nothing else matters at this point except for getting the eight into the final."

On Sunday, participants receive 12 points for the first-place eight, nine for second, six for third and three for fourth. The victorious four gets eight points, with six points awarded for second, four for third and two for fourth.

The Vikings have competed in every DII national championship since the event began in 2002. They have never placed lower than third, winning seven straight national titles from 2005 to 2011, a record for all NCAA rowing divisions.

Last year, WWU finished third after being second in 2012 behind Humboldt State.

WWU entered this weekend's competition ranked No.3 nationally in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/USRowing DII Poll behind No.1 Nova Southeastern and No.2 Humboldt State.

The Vikings' four won and the eight placed second at the 2014 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta in April.

This is the third straight year that Callegari, Henie, Wessman and Rowland have been to nationals. They were in the varsity four in 2012. Henie is the team captain and Callegari the assistant captain.

It is the second trip to nationals for Cuadra, Gangmark-Strickland, Massey, Nelson and Ramstead, and the first for Bartlett, Chang, Hewitt, Little, Marler and Still.

Little and Marler were alternates last year.

NCAA II National Championships - Indianapolis, IN (Indianapolis Rowing Center at Eagle Creek Park)

Results:

Friday - Qualifying Heats

Eights

Heat 1 - 1. Nova Southeastern FL 6:56.5, 2. Barry FL 7:00.6 , 3. Mercyhurst PA 7:27.0

Heat 2 - 1. Humboldt State 6:53.6, 2. Western Washington 6:55.7, 3. Central Oklahoma 7:26.7

Fours

Heat 1 - 1. Western Washington 7:54.6, 2. Mercyhurst 8:57.6

Heat 2 - Nova Southeastern 8:01.7, 2. Humboldt State 8:13.2

Saturday - Repechage Heats

10:30 a.m. ET - Eights - Barry, Central Oklahoma, Mercyhurst, Western Washington

10:40 a.m. ET - Fours - Humboldt State, Mercyhurst

Sunday - Finals

9:30 a.m. ET - Grand Final 4 - Nova Southeastern, Western Washington, TBD

9:40 a.m. ET - Petite Final 8 - TBD, TBD

9:50 a.m. ET - Grand Final 8 - Humboldt State, Nova Southeastern, TBD, TBD

WWU Lineups:

Eight - Coxswain Maeghan Callegari (Jr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), stroke Catrina Cuadra (Sr., Lake Stevens), No.7 Regan Wessman (Sr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), No.6 Lauren Ramstead (Sr., Everson/Nooksack Valley), No.5 Megan Marler (So., Morrison, CO/D'Evelyn), No.4 Olivia Rowland (Sr., Seattle/Holy Names), No.3 Christine Henie (Sr., Chugiak, AK), No.2 Emily Bartlett (Fr., Broadlands, VA/Thomas Jefferson S&T), bow Emily Little (So., Port Angeles/Peninsula CC)

Four - Coxswain Kate Nelson (Jr.., Moscow, ID), stroke Audra Massey (Jr., Albuquerque, NM), No.3 Jenny Chang (Fr., Sammamish/Int. School of Beijing), No.2 Olivia Gangmark-Strickland (So., Bainbridge Island), bow Katya Hewitt (So., Bellingham)

Alternates - Coxswain Katey Sullivan (Jr., Valley Center, CA) and Cosette Still (Sr., Lake Forest Park/Blanchet)

Head Coach: John Fuchs (16th year), Assistant Coach: Siri Carlson