May 27, 2011

Varsity Eight Earns Spot In Semifinal On Opening Morning Of NCAA Championship

Second Varsity, Varsity Four Forced To Repechage

GOLD RIVER, Calif. – Yale's varsity eight finished third in its heat to earn a berth in the semifinals on the opening morning of the NCAA Championships on Lake Natoma. The second varsity and varsity four both placed fourth and will have to finish in the top three of Friday afternoon's repechage to advance to the semifinals.

The varsity eight of coxswain Kristen Brownlee, Elizabeth McDermott, Stephanie Madner, Dara Dickson, Armine Afeyan, Natalie King, Caroline Nash, Maddie Lips and Catherine McDermott finished four seconds ahead of fourth-place Dartmouth. The Big Green had edged Yale for third place at the Eastern Sprints two weeks ago. The Bulldogs had a time of 6:30.92. Brown won the heat in 6:22.48, more than four seconds faster than second place California (6:26.57).

"The varsity eight did a good job," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "They raced hard the entire way and finished with a good push."

The second varsity missed automatically advancing by three-tenths of a second. Yale crossed the line in 6:40.93, narrowly behind second-place Southern California (6:40.62) and third-place Washington (6:40.65). Stanford won going away with a time of 6:32.09.

"It was a great race," Porter said. "Our heat was the deepest, and we came up just short. Our time would have been quick enough in any of the other two heats."

The Bulldogs will now race Michigan, Washington State, Harvard, Dartmouth, Clemson and California in the repechage at 3:45. Only the top three advance to the semifinals.

The crew for Yale is coxswain Sarah Brownlee, Eliza Hastings, Georgia Separovich, Kathleen O'Keefe, Jen Stockwood, Nikki Grigg, Claire Tolson, Kathryn D'Andrea and Emily Tormey.

The varsity four of coxswain Margaret Ayers, Elizabeth Kalina, Alexandra Fields, Brittany Bowman, and Lauren Ross also will have to go through the repechage. The Bulldogs placed fourth with a time of 7:36.04, nearly six seconds behind third-place Washington State (7:30.0). Wisconsin won in 7:20.60.

Yale faces Michigan State, Brown, Michigan, Harvard, Clemson and Dartmouth at 4 p.m.

"I expect both the second varsity and four to reach the semifinals," Porter said. "It's not always terrible to have race again. It's one more opportunity to work on the things we need to work on. We're very fit."

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity