Varsity Eight Comes Up Just Short In Bid To Reach Grand Final

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Varsity eight (Tim Bennett photo)

All Three Yale Boats In Petite Finals

GOLD RIVER, Calif. – Yale's varsity eight made a valiant effort to qualify for the grand final at the NCAA Championship but came up just short. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the second semifinal with a time of 6:32.26, a little more than four seconds behind third-place Michigan State. Only the top three qualify to the grand final. Yale, the defending varsity eight champion, will have to settle for a spot in the petite final.

"Our varsity represented itself very well," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "It was a very deep field. One place would have gotten us a spot in the grand final, which would have been one heck of an accomplishment. I thought we raced well. We showed good composure. We just needed a little bit more firepower."

The Bulldogs crew of coxswain Kristen Brownlee, Elizabeth McDermott, Stephanie Madner, Dara Dickson, Armine Afeyan, Natalie King, Caroline Nash, Maddie Lips and Catherine McDermott was fourth after 500 meters and couldn't catch Michigan State, which crossed the line in 6:27.71. Southern California (6:26.60) placed first followed by Princeton (6:28.34).

Yale races Washington, Washington State, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin in the petite final on Sunday at 11:45 a.m.

The Bulldogs' second varsity and varsity four also will race in petite finals.

The second varsity of Sarah Brownlee, Eliza Hastings, Georgia Separovich, Kathleen O'Keefe, Jen Stockwood, Nikki Grigg, Claire Tolson, Kathryn D'Andrea and Emily Tormey was given a second life when the NCAA elected to go with a field of 13 for the semifinals late Saturday after a problem with the scale that weighs the boats was discovered.

The Bulldogs, though, were relegated to lane seven, fell behind early and were not able to recover, finishing seventh with a time of 6:53.99

"Lane seven on this course is really hard," Porter said. "The inside lanes are protected [from the wind] so the lower seeds get exposed. I thought we raced hard and were engaged in the race throughout."

The Bulldogs will face Washington, Princeton, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Washington State in the petite final at 10:55 a.m.

Yale's varsity four of coxswain Margaret Ayers, Elizabeth Kalina, Alexandra Fields, Brittany Bowman, and Lauren Ross also had an outside lane (six) and finished sixth with a time of 7:52.41.

The Bulldogs race Ohio State, Princeton, Brown, Washington State and Michigan in the petite final at 10:05 a.m.

Yale's streak of four straight years with an NCAA grand final title will come to an end.

"The regatta is not over," Porter said. "We want to finish strong. It'll be just like every other day. We want to go as fast as we can and end the year the right way."

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity

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