University of Virginia wins 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Rowing Championship; Humboldt State Wins First Division II Team Title
May 27, 2012
WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The rain poured down on the course of Lake Mercer in Mercer County Park in West Windsor, N.J., during the last day of racing at the 2012 NCAA Women’s Rowing Championship. After a 90-minute weather delay, racing resumed and Division I and II national champions were crowned.
The University of Virginia won its second national title in the 15 years of the Division I championships. By winning the varsity eight, taking fifth in the second varsity eight and second in the varsity four, the team repeated its 2010 feat. Michigan, California and Princeton rounded out the top four team finishes in this years’ championship.
“Before the race, I said, ‘if you do what I know you are capable of, you will win this race.’ I had zero doubt in their ability to do this. They knew regardless of the other boats’ finishes they wanted to win the varsity eight and they have really done that all spring,” said coach Kevin Sauer. “The varsity eight win was important, but the varsity four had to do what they did and the second eight making it into the finals yesterday gave us a chance to win.”
Reflecting on the team’s second-place team finish, Michigan head coach Mark Rothstein said, “I feel great about how our athletes raced this weekend. I think our second eight did what they’ve been doing all year and showed their strength in that event. Our first eight just got beat by some very, very fast crews. I think that our four didn’t necessarily have as good of a regatta as they could have. I don’t think they really showed their speed, which is a little disappointing.”
In the first eight final, Virginia and Michigan battled for first and the national title. At the 750-meter mark, Virginia threw down the challenge as it sat nine seats up on the crew from Michigan and well out in front of the rest of the field. With a time of 6:18.72, Virginia stole the gold and guaranteed the team its second national title. Michigan’s second-place finish, with a time of 6:22.09, earned the team second place. Southern California battled through Princeton to steal third in the race.
“You never know until the finish line. We new it was going to come down to the wire. But we rowed our race; it was all nine of us and Kevin’s spirit in the boat,” said Fiona Schlesinger, four seat in the varsity eight. “We did it for ourselves and all the work we put in this season.”
In the Division I second eights final, Michigan took and held the lead to win in 6:37.04. Ohio State had a strong finish and crossed the line 1.9 seconds behind the winner. Initially in the fight for second, the crew from UCLA was forced to stop after a rower caught a crab, dropping them to sixth.
In the Division I fours final, Virginia took the lead coming off the start line. After making several moves to try and catch Virginia, Ohio State still trailed at 1,000-meter mark. To win its first title in an event at the NCAA Championship, Ohio State made a final move through Virginia to take gold in 7:13.09.
After winning both the eight and the four, Humboldt State won its first overall team title in the 2012 NCAA Division II Women’s Rowing Championship. After making it to the finals through repechages, 2012 became the first time in seven years that Western Washington did not take the stage as national champions.
“This was probably the most amazing way to end my season,” said Humboldt State senior Chyna Balonick. “We had been working for this all season. We trained as hard as we could every day. We had this thing where we wanted to improve one percent every day, and I think we accomplished that. This was the best race to retire on.”
In the Division II Eight final, the crew from Nova Southeastern was assessed at false start when officials were forced to stop and restart the race. Initially, Western Washington pulled away from the field on the second start. But in the last 250 meters, the crew from Humboldt State out rowed Western Washington to take gold in 6:48.84 and guarantee its team the national title.
“One of the things we decided going into this weekend is that regardless of where we finished was we would have no regrets,” said Head Coach Robin Meiggs. “We followed our training plan, and we knew that if we came through one inch at a time we could do it. With about 15 strokes left, we saw them kick into another gear. They dug and there they went.”
“Crossing the line, it was like pain and ecstasy all in one. I was excited, overwhelmed and in shock,” said Humboldt State rower Alex Torquermada, “But ultimately, I felt really satisfied by what we’d done and achieved as a team. Winning. That had been our goal all season.”
In the Division II Fours final, the crew from Humboldt State led the entire race to take gold in 7:24.96. After crossing the finish line, the coxswain and crew threw their hands up in celebration. They beat the crews for Nova Southeastern and Western Washington to aid in the teams’ quest for the national title.
Division I Team Standings
1. Virginia, 87; 2. California, 78; 3. Michigan, 82; 4. Princeton, 77; 5. Ohio State, 67; 6. Southern California, 66; 7. Washington, 62; 8. UCLA, 62; 9. Stanford, 40; 10. Yale, 38; 11. Wisconsin, 34; 12. Harvard, 32; 13. Cornell, 31; 14. Brown, 25; 15. Notre Dame, 20; 16. Michigan State, 15
Division I First Eights Grand Final
1.Virginia, 6:18.72; 2.Michigan, 6:22.09; 3.Southern California, 6:25.90; 4. Princeton, 6:25.90; 5. California, 6:27.19; 6. Washington, 6:29.11
Division I Second Eights Grand Final
1.Michigan, 6:37.04 ; 2.Ohio State, 6:38.94; 3.California, 6:40.85; 4.Princeton, 6:42.61; 5. Virginia, 6:44.97; 6. UCLA, 7:10.40
Division I Fours Grand Final
1. Ohio State, 7:13.09; 2. Virginia, 7:15.18; 3. California, 7:21.15; 4. Yale, 7:23.53; 5. Princeton, 7:26.23; 6. Washington, 7:29.0.
Division I First Eights Petite Final
1. UCLA, 6:28.49; 2. Stanford, 6:29.86; 3. Harvard, 6:29.89; 4. Ohio State, 6:32.69; 5. Cornell, 6:33.86; 6. Yale, 6:39.75
Division I Second Eight Petite Final
1. Southern California, 6:42.97; 2. Washington, 6:43.26; 3. Brown, 6:45.41; 4. Wisconsin, 6:45.81; 5. Stanford, 6:46.64; 6. Yale, 6:47.58
Division I Fours Petite Final
1. UCLA, 7:23.89; 2. Notre Dame, 7:25.35; 3. Wisconsin, 7:25.57; 4. Cornell, 7:26.48; 5. Harvard, 7:27.26; 6. Michigan, 7:33.75
Division I First Eights Third Final
1. Wisconsin, 6:34.67; Michigan State, 6:36.10; 3. Brown, 6:38.32;5. Notre Dame, 6:40.33
Division I Second Eights Third Final
1. Notre Dame, 6:47.00; 2. Cornell, 6:48.90; 3. Michigan State, 6:49.00; 4. Harvard, 6:49.20
Division I Four Third Final
1.Southern California, 7:32.59; 2. Brown, 7:33.35; 3. Michigan State, 7:33.95; 4. Stanford, 7:35.33
Division II Team Standings
1. Humboldt State 20; Western Washington 13; Nova Southeastern 12; Mercyhurst 5
Division II First Eights Grand Final
1. Humboldt State, 6:48.84; 2. Western Washington, 6:50.45; Nova Southeastern, 6:51.89; Mercyhurst, 6:57.29
Division II Fours Grand Final
1. Humboldt State, 7:24.96; 2. Nova Southeastern, 7:51.37; 3. Western Washington 7:53.93.
Division II First Eights Petite Final
1. Central Oklahoma, 7:03.77; 2. Barry, 7:06.9
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Monica Worsley, USRowing Communications Intern