Second Varsity Eight, Varsity Four Advance To Semifinals

Second varsity (Tim Bennett photo)
Second varsity (Tim Bennett photo)

All Three Yale Boats Still In Hunt

GOLD RIVER, Calif. – A long day for the Yale women's crew became a little longer than expected, but the end result was well worth the wait. Both the second varsity eight and varsity four earned spots in the semifinals following the afternoon repechege session.

The varsity four did it the conventional way, finishing third in the repechege with a time of 8:00.64, less than a second faster than fourth-place Harvard. The top three finishers qualify for the semis.

The second varsity had a more complicated route. Yale finished fourth in the repechege, but an issue with the scale that weighs the boats has given the Bulldogs new life.

Washington State, which placed third, was ruled to be under weight. Earlier in the day, California, which had won its morning heat, was found to be too light as well, forcing the Bears to compete in the repechege and allowing Michigan State, which had originally placed fourth, to advance.

At the end of the day, the NCAA Division I Rowing Committee concluded it was not comfortable with the integrity of the scales and adjusted the progression of the second varsity eight semifinals. The second semifinal will now have seven boats competing, including Yale.

"I thought the committee came to the only fair resolution it could," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "Now the athletes will get to decide the results on the water."

It brought a conclusion to what was a very emotional day for the second varsity of coxswain Sarah Brownlee, Eliza Hastings, Georgia Separovich, Kathleen O'Keefe, Jen Stockwood, Nikki Grigg, Claire Tolson, Kathryn D'Andrea and Emily Tormey. They had missed automatically advancing in the morning heat by three-tenths of a second and then were less that a second behind Washington State in the repechege.

"We have to go out and take advantage of this opportunity," Porter said. "We had two tough races today, but there are no senior rowers in the crew so it is a chance for them to grow up."

The Bulldogs race California, Stanford, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Washington and Washington State on Saturday at 9:45 a.m. The top three finishers advance to Sunday's grand final.

The varsity four of coxswain Margaret Ayers, Elizabeth Kalina, Alexandra Fields, Brittany Bowman, and Lauren Ross was fourth after 500 meters in the repechege but moved into third at the halfway mark and then held off a late charge from Harvard.

"The varsity four fought very hard to qualify," Porter said. "It's very tough to race twice in the same day here."

Yale will face Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Stanford and Washington State in the semis at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday.

Yale's varsity eight, which qualified for the semifinals in the morning heat, races Brown, Stanford, Michigan State, Washington State and Michigan on Saturday at 9:15 a.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity