INDIANAPOLIS — Washington coach Bob Ernst couldn’t find much to complain about after watching the last event of the NCAA championships.
Washington’s varsity eight boat finished fourth in the highest-scoring event of the championships and Ernst went home content with every aspect of that race.
Ohio State won the varsity eight grand final in 6 minutes, 44 seconds and repeated as national team champions. The Huskies finished the varsity eight in 6:49.64, just 1.14 seconds behind second-place Brown. UW finished seventh in the team standings.
“They were hot and came out and led the race,” Ernst said of his varsity eight. “They got their nose in the lead. If they hadn’t made that statement early on, then they wouldn’t have finished as high as they did. That’s what you have to do with a crowd like this — you have to come out hot and go as fast as you can the whole way down.”
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Washington was in fifth place after 1,500 meters, but had a strong finish to pass Michigan to finish fourth. That was important because those two programs tied with 101 points in the team standings. Because of finishing higher in the varsity eight, the Huskies earned the tiebreaker and finished seventh in the team race.
Stanford — which won all three events at the Pac-12 championships — finished sixth in the varsity eight grand final. Beating a conference rival didn’t hurt either, said UW senior Kirstyn Goodger.
“We came out of the blocks just as we wanted to do and were with the pack, which is what we wanted to do,” said Goodger, who rowed the sixth seat. “I think we executed the way we wanted to. I think for us it was that we gave it everything that we had. There was nothing more I could have wanted or asked of the girls.”
Ohio State pulled away in the varsity eight and led by two seconds after 1,000 meters. The Buckeyes also won the second varsity eight race. Rowers had ideal conditions with sun and 80-degree temperatures.
“All athletes and coaches want is to be able to look at the results and say, ‘OK, those guys are better than we are,’ ” Ernst said. “You just want to know that the best teams got there first and the conditions were absolutely perfect for the finals.”
Washington finished fifth in the varsity four grand final in 7:48.51, while California took first in 7:43.08.
“I thought they kind of had a mediocre race for them,” Ernst said. “But it was really fast company and I’m pleased they finished where they did, but they would probably like to have finished a spot or two better than they did.”
UW’s second varsity eight finished fourth in the petite final in 7:08. Washington State’s second varsity eight crew finished 11th (7:10) and the Cougars were 14th as a team for the second consecutive year.
Ohio State won the team championship with 126 points, while California took second with 118 points and Brown was third with 116. Stanford was fourth with 110 points, Virginia fifth with 105 and Princeton sixth with 102.