May 27, 2012
WEST WINDSOR, N.J. -NCAA Championships Central | Full Results
The top-ranked California women's rowing team concluded the NCAA Championships Sunday at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J., with the Golden Bears finishing third with 78 points. Virginia won the NCAA title with 87 points and Michigan took second with 82. In the grand finals, the Cal varsity eight finished fifth, while the varsity four and junior varsity eight boats came in third.
The third-place finish marks Cal's second straight third-place finish at the NCAA regatta. In addition, it is also the fifth straight season that Cal placed in the top three, the seventh in the last eight years and the 10th top-four placing in the last 14 years. The last time the Bears won the national title was in 2006.
"Every boat gave it their best effort and had good races," head coach Dave O'Neill said. "Both the four and second varsity eight put their crews on the podium, and the varsity eight fought a really hard race to the end. Credit goes to Virginia and Coach Sauer. They are deserving national champions."
Heading into Sunday's races, Cal, Virginia and Princeton were the only schools that had boats competing in all three A grand finals.
In the varsity eight grand final, the race that has the most points at stake, the Bears took fifth with a time of 6:27.19. The Cavaliers won the event, clocking a time of 6:18.72. Pac-12 foe USC finished third in the race (6:25.06).
In the junior varsity eight, the Bears took third in the grand final, clocking a time of 6:40.85, with Michigan and Ohio State coming in first and second, respectively. The Buckeyes were the early leaders in the team standings heading into the varsity eight final, but did not have a boat in the varsity eight A grand final.
In the varsity four, the Bears took third with a time of 7:21.15. Ohio State won the race at 7:13.09, while Virginia came in second (7:15.18). This race also marked the first time in the 2012 campaign that the Cal varsity four did not win.
"I'm really proud of this team," O'Neill said. "Back in early March this result looked somewhat unlikely, but everyone stepped up into contenders for the national championship. There's certainly a bit of disappointment since we were so close, and we've been so close for a number of years. I think that shows the level that our team holds itself to, and we'll continue to do so."
In other related Cal rowing news, Cal alum and former rower Julie Nichols ('00) and her partner Kristin Hedstrom placed fourth in the LW2x at the Lucerne World Cup and Olympic Qualification Regatta and have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London this summer. Nichols is one of three Cal American rowers vying for a spot at the London Games along with Erin Cafaro and current Bear Kara Kohler. Iva Obradovic is also hoping to make the cut for her native Serbia.
2012 NCAA Championships Day Three
Final Team Standings
Varsity Eight Grand Final
Junior Varsity Eight Grand Final