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Williams Wins Eighth Consecutive Division III Title

June 01, 2013

Williams College continued its dominance of Division III rowing on Saturday at the 2013 NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind. The Ephs won both the first and second eights en route to their eighth consecutive national title.

“Eight straight sounds pretty incredible when you say it like that,” said Annie Haley, seven-seat of the Williams first eight. “I’ve been blessed to sit in the 1V for a few years now, and the women I’ve sat with each year have just been so impressive. It feels incredible to continue the legacy, and it feels incredible to give the team what we can give it for next year, because it’s just a continuous cycle. This leads us into next year with a great feeling and a great sense of energy and momentum. It’s just all part of the cycle, and it’s pretty unreal. Not a whole lot of teams can say that they’ve done this ever. I’m proud and honored to say we’ve won eight straight.”

Williams finished with 42 points to win the team title. Bates College finished second with 35 points, followed by Trinity College with 31 points.

In the first eights race, Williams edged ahead of Bates College as the crews crossed the 1,000-meter mark. The Ephs methodically took seats during the third 500 meters, establishing a half-length lead with 500 meters to go before winning by about six seats. Williams finished with a time of 7:20.642, followed by Bates in a 7:22.874. William Smith finished third, followed by Trinity, Washington College and Wellesley.

“Indianapolis is crazy and has been crazy all weekend starting with the practices,” Haley said. “We came in today knowing that conditions weren’t going to be the best. All year we have been dealing with adversity. We decided last night in our boat meeting that we would draw on all the adversity that we have overcome this year to just really make it our day. Really, what it came down to for us was the training that we put in and the desire that we had to win.”
 
For the first time in D-III history, the second eight was its own championship event. In previous years, each squad racing for the team title fielded two eights in a combined event, with the potential for a school to have both boats in the grand final. In Saturday’s inaugural second eights race, Williams pulled away from Trinity over the final 1,000 meters to claim the title.

“I think it is a good thing,” said Williams Head Coach Kate Maloney. “It gives that 2V some autonomy and some ownership of what they do. It certainly gives our kids something to strive for to be able to say that they are a national champion rather than saying we finished fifth in the grand final.”

Williams held a two-second advantage at the midway point of the race and overcame a slight bobble to pull away from the field and win by a boat length. Williams finished with a time of 7:24.573, with Trinity taking second in a 7:28.026. Bates finished third, followed by Wellesley.

“It is what we came to do, but we talk every year about each year being independent of the last,” said Maloney of the eighth title. “It really has to be about that mix of women coming together as a group, because new people come in and change the dynamic. I think this was definitely a year of growth and learning to trust one another’s work ethic, because we did lose a large group of seniors. The seniors that were coming up had to really step into a leadership role that they hadn’t previously been expected to carry, and they did a wonderful job.”

In Division I, defending national champions Virginia served notice to the rest of the field in the first semifinal of the varsity eight. The Cavaliers took control of the race off the start and built a five-second lead over California and Southern California during the first 1,000 meters. Virginia maintained that advantage the rest of the way down the course, winning by open water. Virginia clocked a 7:00.612, with USC crossing in a 7:05.999. California finished third in a 7:09.358, easily besting UCLA for the last spot in tomorrow’s final.

In the second semifinal, Ohio State passed Princeton in the final 500 meters to win in a 7:14.406. The Tigers took the early lead over Washington and Ohio State during the first quarter of the race and continued to hold an advantage at the midway point. That’s when the Buckeyes began to make their move. Ohio State cut the Princeton lead to just 0.2 seconds as the crews entered the final 500 meters and crossed the finish line about three seats ahead of the Tigers. Princeton finished with a time of 7:15.303. Washington held off a furious charge from Yale to claim the third spot in the final by 0.4 seconds.

Ohio State won the first semifinal of the second varsity eight by open water, clocking a 7:19.611 to finish more than three seconds ahead of Yale. The Bulldogs finished about a half-length ahead of third-place USC, with Harvard finishing in fourth.

Brown won a hotly contested second semifinal by a half-second. The top four finishers were within one second of each other, with Virginia being left out of the final. Brown took the lead as the crews passed the 1,000-meter mark, with Virginia in second and Princeton in third. California made its move into second place during the third 500 meters, and the four crews battled each other the rest of the way down the course. Brown finished with a time of 6:54.564, with Cal clocking a 6:55.088. Princeton crossed in a 6:55.256, with Virginia finishing in a 6:55.521.

Ohio State also won the first semifinal of the varsity four, finishing a boat length ahead of Washington. The Buckeyes rowed in second place for the first half of the race before overtaking Washington during the final 1,000 meters. OSU finished with a time of 7:36.710, with the Huskies coming in second in a 7:38.978. Brown took third in a 7:41.888 to claim the other spot in the final.

Southern Cal easily won the second semifinal, finishing more than five seconds ahead of Virginia. USC jumped out to a three-second lead in the first 500 meters and continued to walk away from the rest of the field. Southern Cal crossed in a 7:44.822, with Virginia clocking a 7:50.082. Washington State narrowly defeated Princeton for third, finishing with a time of 7:52.482 to the Tigers’ 7:52.692.

In the race for the D-I championship, Southern Cal and Ohio State were the only two teams to qualify all three boats for the top-level final, leaving them in the best position to win the national title. California and Princeton qualified both their varsity eights and second varsity eights for the top final, with their varsity fours making the B final.

In the repechage of the Division II eights, University of California at San Diego and Western Washington joined Barry University and Nova Southeastern in the final. UC-San Diego held off Western Washington by one second to win the repechage in a 7:42.968, with Central Oklahoma finishing third.

Barry won the repechage of the Division II fours by nearly 23 seconds over Mercyhurst, clocking a 9:04.823. Barry joins Nova Southeastern and Western Washington in tomorrow’s final.

The C/D semifinals in the Division I second varsity eight and the varsity four were not completed after crews swamped in the second C/D semifinal of the second varsity eight. The four races will be run on Sunday morning beginning at 8:00 a.m. The remaining schedule has been adjusted. Co-hosted by the University of Notre Dame and Indiana Sports Corporation, the three-day regatta concludes on Sunday with finals in Division I and II.

Click here for complete results and heat sheets.

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Brett Johnson

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