NCAA Championship Set To Get Under Way (Updated With Time Changes)

Varsity eight (Tim Bennett photo)

Racing Starts Friday; Finals Sunday

Throughout his long tenure as Yale's head coach, Will Porter has talked about how grueling the NCAA Championship can be. Racing three days straight is challenging both physically and mentally. Now, it has become even more difficult. With the expansion of the field from 16 to 22, spots in the coveted grand final are harder to come by.

Yale will begin its quest on Friday when the 2013 NCAA Women's Rowing Championship gets under way at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.

"The progression has changed, making it more difficult to qualify directly to the semifinals because only the top two from each heat go through," Porter said. "This really favors the top eight crews in each event, because they will row one less race, which is pretty significant."

Porter, though, is confident his crews are prepared.

"We are fit and ready to race," he said. "It will be interesting to see where we stand when the dust settles."

Yale, ranked 12th in the latest CRCA-US Rowing national poll, is making its 12th straight appearance at the NCAA Championship. The Bulldogs' best finish came in 2004 when they were second. Yale has had one crew win a grand final four times. The varsity eight finished first in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and the second varsity won in 2009.

The Bulldogs arrived in Indianapolis on Tuesday afternoon and in addition to practicing on Wednesday, visited the NCAA Hall of Champions where they discovered Yale women's crew is well represented. Here are photos of the visit.

The varsity eight will be the first to compete on Friday, facing USC, Radcliffe, Washington State and Oklahoma in the first of four heats. Due to the threat of Thunderstorms on Friday, the time of Yale's race is now 7:40 a.m. The top two finishers automatically earn a spot in Saturday's semifinals, while the next three will be forced to race a second time on Friday in the afternoon repechage. The grand final is Sunday at 10:50 a.m.

The crew for the Bulldogs is Eliza Hastings, Abbie Young, Claire Tolson, Nina Demmerle, Kim Szokol, Natalie King, Maddie Lips, Colleen Maher and coxswain Kristen Brownlee.

The second varsity races Ohio State, Virginia, UCLA and Washington State at 8:20 a.m.

The crew for Yale is Kristina Wagner, Kara Freeman, Elizabeth Vincent, Madeline Dinse, Martha Cosgrove, Mieke Scherpbier, Kristjana Gudmundsson, Abby Loucks and coxswain Margaret Ayers.

The varsity four of Amina Edwards, Brit Sharon, Emily Tormey, Jen Stockwood and coxswain Christine Devlin races Brown, Virginia, Radcliffe, Boston University and Marist at 9:20 a.m.

Virginia is the defending champion. The Bulldogs placed 10th last year and have finished in the top 10 in 10 of the last 11 years.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity