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Deep Bulldogs Set For NCAA Championship

Don Clark photo
Don Clark photo

Racing Starts Friday In Sarasota

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – There is no women's rowing event where depth is more important than the NCAA Championship. The winner is determined by the combined results from the varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four. That could bode well for the Bulldogs as they head to Sarasota, Florida, for the 2018 NCAA Championship which begins Friday and ends Sunday at Nathan Benderson Park.

Yale, ranked eighth in the latest CRCA national poll, is coming off a team points title at the Ivy League championship two weeks ago. The Bulldogs had success in all three NCAA events. The varsity four won the grand final, while the varsity eight and second varsity eight both finished second.

"Our team's depth from top to bottom is crucial to success," said captain Amy Warner, who sits in the bow seat of the varsity eight. "We feed off the speed and competitiveness of one another which allows the program to grow stronger and rise."

Yale is one of three Ivy League crews in the 22-team field, joining Princeton, ranked ninth, and Brown, ranked 12th. There are also the perennial heavyweights of the sport, which include defending champion Washington, currently ranked No. 1, No. 2 California, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 6 Michigan and No. 7 Virginia.

"This is my 18th trip to the NCAAs with Yale, and every year it seems to get more competitive, but the key to success here is seeding," said Will Porter, The Friends of YWC Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "If you get a good heat, you are all set. If not, it is a tough three days."

The first to race for the Bulldogs will be the varsity eight in the first heat at 9 a.m. on Friday. Yale, in lane two, faces Gonzaga, Washington, Princeton and Syracuse. The Bulldogs are seeded ninth.

The second varsity eight is in heat four at 10:24 a.m. Yale, seeded 12th and in lane two, races Central Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, Brown and Navy.

The Ivy champion and sixth-seeded varsity four will race out of lane four in heat three against Navy, Indiana, Ohio State, Iowa and Jacksonville at 11 a.m.

In all three heats, the top two finishers advance to Saturday's semifinals, while the rest will be forced to race again later Friday in the repechage, a second chance to advance to the semis.

The finals are all set for Sunday morning.

Warner knows it will be a grueling few days, particularly with the heat and humidity expected in Florida, but is confident the crew is ready.

"Racing at NCAAs is challenging as it is a three-day event with three or four races in that time, and we are competing against the fastest schools in the country, but it what we have prepared for all year."

It's been a very successful spring for the Bulldogs in the three NCAA crews. The varsity eight posted a 16-5 record, including a win over Ohio State back in March, and also captured the Connell, Class of 1985, Cayuga and Nathaniel Case Cups.

The second varsity eight had an 18-3 record, including wins over Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

Yale's varsity four also was 18-3, defeating Michigan, Virginia and Wisconsin along the way.

"We go in ranked eighth as a team and want to do our best in each crew to meet our seed or go higher," Porter said. "I think we can go better. We are out of school and past graduation so all we have to do is row now."

Nathan Benderson Park is hosting the NCAA Championship for the first time. It was the site of the 2017 World Rowing Championship.

The trip to Florida is a homecoming for Yale's Kate Flanders, who sits in the No. 5 seat of the second varsity eight. She is a Sarasota native and a graduate of Pine View High School.

Yale has now earned a spot in the NCAA Championship in 18 of the last 19 years.

The Bulldogs' best finish came in 2004 when they were second, and they have 14 top-10 finishes. 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.

Yale's varsity eight qualified for the grand final last year, helping the Bulldogs to a seventh-place finish.

"We know each boat still has another gear to find," Warner said. "We are excited and determined to get faster."

PROBABLE YALE BOATINGS

Varsity Eight:                                                                                                               

Bow – Amy Warner (Sr., East London, South Africa)
2 – Lily Lindsay (Sr., Harrison, New York)
3 – Arwen Neski (Jr., Ashley Falls, Massachusetts)
4 – Margaret Saunders (So., Arlington, Virginia)
5 – Ella von der Schulenburg (So., Zurich, Switzerland)
6 – Alison Nordell (Sr., Gates Mills, Ohio)
7 – Marybeth Swords (Sr., Sudbury, Massachusetts)
Stroke – Daisy Mazzio-Manson (So., Wellesley, Massachusetts)
Coxswain – Hannah Malzahn (Jr., Edmond, Oklahoma)

Second Varsity Eight:

Bow – Victoire Lienau (Jr., Paris, France)
2 – Claire Grundig (So., San Carlos, Calif.)
3 – Meg Galloway (Sr., Ridgefield, Connecticut)
4 – Sophie Deans (Sr., Sydney Australia)
5 – Kate Flanders (Sr., Sarasota, Florida)
6 – Julia Sesler (Sr., Bronxville, New York)
7 – Kate Horvat (Sr., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Stroke – Katie King-Smith (Fy., Oxford, United Kingdom)
Coxswain – Aparajita Chauhan (Fy., Seattle, Wash.)           

Varsity Four:

Bow - Katie Gleason (So., Sudbury, Mass.)
2 –  Sera Bulbul (Jr., Geneva, Switzerland)
3 –  Claire Dirks (Fy., Toronto, Ontario)
Stroke - Margaux Paradis (So., San Francisco, California)
Coxswain – Anisa Iqbal (Jr., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Spares:
 
Riley Eversole (Fy., Oakland, Calif.)
Hannah Knight (Jr., Weston, Mass.)
 

Report filed by Tim Bennett (timothy.bennett@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity