INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The California women’s crew varsity four claimed the Golden Bears’ second NCAA Championship in the event in the last four years, leading Cal to a second-place team finish at the NCAA Division I Women’s Rowing Championships Sunday at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.
Cal totaled 118 team points to finish second in the final NCAA team standings for the second-straight year, just eight points shy of National Champion Ohio State (126). Brown (116) placed third and Stanford (110) finished fourth.
The Bears have now placed in the top-three as team at the NCAA Championships for the seventh-straight season and the ninth time in the last 10 years.
"We knew we had a shot coming into the weekend, and I'm really impressed and proud of everyone,” California head women’s crew coach Dave O’Neill said. “A lot of people stepped up the last couple of weeks, and the dynamic and commitment to be team was terrific. Each boat also developed the powerful and consistent rhythm we'd been working on for some time, and that made a big difference, as well. Of course, a big congratulations goes to Ohio State. Winning both eights with some great crews in the field is quite impressive."
The varsity four placed first over Stanford and third-place Virginia. The Golden Bears’ varsity eight, the 2013 NCAA Champions in the event, finished third. The second varsity eight finished fifth in Sunday’s Grand Final.
Cal began the varsity four race in fifth and quickly moved level with Virginia. The Bears surged near the midpoint of the course to take over the lead from Stanford, building a two-seat lead over the Cardinal with 750 meters remaining. They continued to push towards the finish line, winning the NCAA title by a half a length with a time of 7:43.088 over Stanford’s time of 7:44.379.
"Coming into the weekend, we thought the four could do pretty well,” O’Neill said on the Bears’ NCAA title in the varsity four. “Even though that boat had lost a number of races during the season, no one ever gave up, and that win is really a credit to the fourteen or fifteen team members that raced in that boat during the year."
The Bears found themselves in fourth early on in the varsity eight race, before making a charge to the front. They pulled into third by 750 meters and were within a deck length of the leaders, Ohio State and Michigan. Just after the midway point, Cal took over second place from Michigan. Over the final 500 meters, Brown made a strong push and surged ahead of Cal just before the finish line to claim second place by less than a second. Ohio State won by a length with a time of 6:44.476, with Brown (6:48.481) edging out the Bears (6:48.509).
"The first eight raced really hard, and I could not be more proud of them,” O’Neill said. “They got better and better the last couple of weeks, and it was great to see them on the podium."
Ohio State captured the second varsity eight race as well. The Bears opened the race in sixth, moving ahead of Virginia at the 1,000-meter mark. They finished with a time of 7:05.136, just behind Stanford (7:04.888). The Buckeyes won with a time of 6:49.434.
Varsity 8+ Grand Final
Top-Three: 1. Ohio State (6:44.476), 2. Brown (6:48.471), 3. California (6:48.509)
Cal Lineup: Lindsay Meltz(Cox). Aggie Nowinski(8), Kendall Chase(7), Papa Hipango(6), Kara Kohler(5), Rosie Popa(4), Inger Kavlie(3), Ingvild Roenningen(2), Michelle Leason(1).
Second Varsity 8+ Grand Final
Top-Five: 1. Ohio State (6:59.434), 2. Princeton (7:02.028), 3. Virginia (7:02.685), 4. Stanford (7:04.888), 5. California (7:05.136)
Cal Lineup: Hannah Freeman(Cox), Sarah Schwartz(8), Greer Uu(7), Rowan McKeller(6), Charlotte Siering(5), Jacinta Edmunds(4), Cara Bohmann(3), Elie Byrd(2), Madeline Wolf(1).
Varsity 4+ Grand Final
Top-Three: 1. California (7:43.088). 2. Stanford (7:44.379), 3. Virginia (745.948)
Cal Lineup: Mary Thomasmyer(Cox), Dorothee Beckendorff(4), Stephanie Kraemer(3), Charlotte Passot(2), Anne Duval(1).