May 29, 2011
GOLD RIVER, Calif. - Second-ranked California women's crew took third at the 2011 NCAA Championships Sunday morning at Lake Natoma. The Golden Bears' varsity 4+ claimed first in its grand final, sweeping all three races it competed in over the weekend. The varsity 8+ finished fourth and the junior varsity 8+ took third.
Brown won the team title with 85 points. Stanford came in second, also with 85 points, but Brown got the tiebreaker because of the higher finish in the varsity 8+ grand final. The Bears garnered 83 points for third place.
"I'm really proud of the way our team raced today.," head coach Dave O'Neill said. "Unfortunately, we came up just short of the overall win. We gave it everything we had, and that's all you can ask for as a coach. It was a lot of fun seeing the team race so well, and it was even more fun for them. There's no disappointment whatsoever in coming in third because we truly did everything we could and maximized our potential. Congratulations to Brown for a fantastic performance throughout the weekend.
This season's third-place finish marks the fourth straight season that Cal placed in the top three and the ninth top-four placing in the last 13 years. The last time the Bears won the national title was in 2006.
In the varsity 4+, Cal moved into first after Virginia jumped out to an early lead. The Bears eventually moved out to a two-second lead that it never relinquished. Cal crossed the finish line at 7:09.60 to Virginia's 7:11.39. The first split when the Cavaliers briefly held the lead was the first time all weekend the Bears' varsity 4+ did not sit in first place.
"The Flying Bear four was great once again today, and that's a terrific win," O'Neill said. "The lineup has changed throughout the season. There have been eight different athletes who raced in the boat and contributed to the undefeated season. Credit goes to all of them and Sara Nevin for a job very well done."
Cal held second in the varsity 8+ grand final through the first three splits, but Brown and Stanford snuck past the Bears in the final push to the finish line. The Bears clocked a time of 6:30.06. Princeton took first at 6:27.12. This marks the second straight year that Cal came in fourth in the varsity 8+ grand final.
"I give them a lot of credit for going after the win, especially after their races in the heat and semi were mediocre at best," O'Neill said. "Today, they stepped up to the challenge and put it all out there. I am very proud of them for what they did today and throughout the season."
Stanford led the junior varsity 8+ race from start to finish with Brown in second from start to finish, as well. The Bears finished third at 6:31.70. The Cardinal won the race at 6:26.76.
"That crew has battled all year long," O'Neill said. "Even though they had some losses to a very good Stanford crew during the year, we always knew they had the speed to be top-3 at NCAAs, so it was great to see them put it together today. The added adversity of having to race the rep unnecessarily on Friday made them a better crew today. I'm really proud of the way they stepped up to every challenge this weekend, and it was great to see them on the podium."
2011 NCAA Championships Grand Finals
Junior Varsity 8+