All Three Crews Earns Semifinal Berths On Opening Day Of NCAA Championships
Varsity Four Advances Straight To Semis; Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight Need Repechage
It certainly didn't come easily, but all three Yale crews qualified for the semifinals on the opening day of the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships at rainy Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.
The varsity four of Amina Edwards, Brit Sharon, Emily Tormey, Jen Stockwood and coxswain Christine Devlin took the simplest route, finishing second in the heat. The top two automatically moved on to the semifinals. The Bulldogs finished with a time of 8:06.888, nearly seven seconds faster than third-place Brown and four seconds behind first-place Virginia.
Yale head coach Will Porter changed the varsity four and second varsity eight lineups following the Ivy League Championships two weeks ago and it seemed to pay dividends for the four.
"They raced really well, and I think they are only going to get faster," Porter said. "They were strong through the middle of the race."
Yale faces Stanford, Ohio State, California, Washington and Brown in the semifinals on Saturday at 10:10 a.m.
The varsity eight and the second varsity eight had to work a little harder. Both finished third in the heats and were forced to race again in the repechage where the top two finishers advanced to semis.
The varsity eight was particularly frustrated with their performance in the heat. Yale raced out to an early lead but was overtaken by Southern California and Radcliffe.
The varsity eight repechage was a thriller as the top three finishers were separated by less than a second. The Bulldogs were second with a time of 7:05.360, just ahead of Notre Dame (7:05.656) and just behind Stanford (7:05.096).
"Our varsity eight is a classic young crew," Porter said. "They were literally the fastest crew at the regatta for the first half of the heat and were a little surprised [by their result]. They missed an opportunity, but fought through. They are still learning about the ups and downs of a three-day regatta."
The Bulldogs face Radcliffe, Princeton, Ohio State, Washington and Michigan in the semifinals on Saturday at 9 a.m.
There was much less drama for the Bulldogs second varsity eight of Kristina Wagner, Kara Freeman, Elizabeth Vincent, Madeline Dinse, Martha Cosgrove, Mieke Scherpbier, Kristjana Gudmundsson, Abby Loucks and coxswain Margaret Ayers in the repechege. Yale cruised to a nearly five-second victory, finishing with a time of 7:27.079.
The battle for the final semifinal berth was much closer as Notre Dame (7:27.079) edged Cornell (7:27.433) by less than a second.
"Similar to the varsity four, the second varsity will continue to get faster," Porter said. "You could see them getting faster as they went down the course [in the repechage]."
In the semifinals, the Bulldogs will race Radcliffe, Ohio State, Southern California, Washington and Stanford on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
The top three finishers in each of the semifinals advance to Sunday's grand final.
"The difference between the crews is so slim that there is not a lot of margin for error," Porter said.
Because of the threat of thunderstorms later in the day, the repechages were moved to the early afternoon, which could benefit the Bulldogs on Saturday.
"Any extra rest is good," Porter said.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity