In 14 ½ minutes of competition within a 30-minute time frame, Western Washington rowers accomplished a first for their university yesterday...

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RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. — In 14 ½ minutes of competition within a 30-minute time frame, Western Washington rowers accomplished a first for their university yesterday.

The Vikings won two Division II races and the school’s first NCAA national title on the final day of the NCAA women’s rowing championships at Lake Natoma.

Washington, a three-time national champion, didn’t fare anywhere near as well.

The Huskies placed third in the varsity fours grand final, first (seventh overall) in the junior varsity eight petite final and sixth (12th overall) in varsity eight petite final. Washington overall placed ninth in the team competition with 31 points.

Western Washington, meanwhile, didn’t miss a stroke.

After advancing to the finals with qualifying wins on Friday, both the varsity four and varsity eight crews continued their domination on the way to providing the university’s first national title since an NAIA softball championship in 1998.

In the day’s first race, the Vikings claimed the three-boat varsity fours final by nearly 20 seconds over Mercyhurst in 7 minutes, 46.82 seconds.

“It went right to plan,” Western coach John Fuchs said. “There wasn’t a bobble or a mistake. They’ve done that all year long and just performed awesomely.”

Two races later, Western captured the varsity eights grand final by more than seven seconds over Nova Southeastern in 6:48.72.

“They just had a really great start,” Fuchs said. “I think they took a length within the first 15 strokes.

“They clearly dominated; it was amazing.”

The 12-point varsity eight win and eight-point varsity four title provided Western Washington’s winning team total.

Mercyhurst, the defending national titlist, finished with 12 points for second, followed by Nova Southeastern with 11.

“They [Mercyhurst] had a couple of seats on us early,” said senior Julia Gamache following the Vikings’ varsity eight win. “But [coxswain] Krissy [Whaley] kept us very focused.

After not advancing to the varsity eight grand final, Washington had hoped to equal its 2004 effort by claiming the petite final. But the Huskies weren’t in contention for long.

“The varsity eight had a bad race,” said Washington coach Eleanor McElvaine. “The nerves got to them and unfortunately, they don’t do very well when they’re nervous. We were disappointed in the varsity race, but proud of the JVs and the varsity four.”

UW sophomore Courtney Plitt said the varsity eight likely pushed too hard at the start of the race.

“We were up there in the first 1,000 meters,” Plitt said. “But everyone just started to move and our move wasn’t as strong. We tried to pull it back in the third 500, but it was too late.”

The Huskies did manage to medal for the second straight season in the varsity four grand final, following up last year’s second-place performance with a third-place result.

After opening a small early lead, Washington was overtaken by Virginia at the 500-meter mark. The Cavaliers held off strong sprints from UW and Brown to win in 7:18.42. Brown nosed out Washington at the line, finishing in 7:20.08 to 7:20.15 for the Huskies.

“Our four raced really well,” UW assistant Sean Mulligan said. “It would have been easy for them to just let Virginia walk away, but they really fought back.”

Top-seeded California completed its undefeated season with a win in the varsity grand final in 6:20.74, and claimed its first national title with 67 points. Virginia was second with 63, and Brown was third with 49.

Information from college sports-information departments contributed to this report.

Women’s NCAA Rowing Championships

At Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova, Calif.


1, California 67. 2, Virginia 63. 3, Brown 49. 4, Ohio State 42. 5, Princeton 39. 6, Harvard 39. 7, Yale 38. 8, Michigan 35. 9, Washington 31. 10, Michigan State 27. 11, USC 25. 12, Wisconsin 13.


Varsity Eights

Grand Final — 1, California 6:20.74. 2, Princeton 6:22.80. 3, Harvard 6:23.86. 4, Virginia 6:24.22. 5, Yale 6:25.89. 6, Ohio State 6:26.96.

Petite Final — 1, Brown 6:24.65. 2, Tennessee 6:26.26. 3, Michigan 6:29.67. 4, USC 6:31.71. 5, Stanford 6:31.87. 6, Washington 6:34.36.

UW lineup: cox-Dana Ryan, stroke-Courtney Plitt, 7-Kara Farquharson, 6-Sanda Hangan, 5-Allison DePalma, 4-Megan Kalmoe, 3-Janelle Dubbins, 2-Michael Kohan, bow-Marah Connole.

Junior Varsity Eights

Grand Final — 1, Virginia 6:34.19. 2, California 6:36.48. 3, Brown 6:38.98. 4, Ohio State 6:40.60. 5, Michigan State 6:40.69. 6, Michigan 6:47.39.

Petite Final — 1, Washington 6:38.24. 2, Yale 6:39.43. 3, Harvard 6:44.23. 4, USC 6:44.81. 5, Princeton 6:45.61. 6, Wisconsin 6:46.20.

UW lineup: cox-Eva Anderson, stroke-Olivia Morrow, 7-Liz Simenstad, 6-Sarah Hubbard, 5-Asiha Grigsby, 4-Alina Tabacaru, 3-Gemma Edward-Aron, 2-Andrea Sooter, bow-Amanda Jensen.

Varsity Fours

Grand Final — 1, Virginia 7:18.42. 2, Brown 7:20.08. 3, Washington 7:20.15. 4, California 7:22.49. 5, Wisconsin 7:23.53. 6, USC 7:25.26.

UW lineup: cox-Katie Peyer, stroke-Katie Anderson, 3-Katherine Ramos, 2-Erin Lee, bow-Katie Gardner.

Petite Final — 1, Michigan 7:25.4. 2, Michigan State 7:26.2. 3, Yale 7:28.3. 4, Ohio State 7:31.1. 5, Princeton 7:34.7. 6, Harvard 7:35.8.

Women’s NCAA Division II Rowing Championships

At Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova, Calif.

Grand Final — Eights

1. Western Washington 6:48.72, 2. Nova Southeastern 6:55.91, Mercyhurst 6:59.92, Barry 7:07.35

Grand Final — Fours

1. Western Washington 7:46.82, 2. Mercyhurst 8:07.78, Florida Tech 8:09.34

Point Totals

1. Western Washington 20, 2. Mercyhurst 12, 3. Nova Southeastern 11, 4. Florida Tech 7

WWU lineups

Varsity 8 – Coxswain Krissy Whaley (Sr., Woodinville), stroke Julia Gamache (Jr., Seattle/Blanchet), No.7 Staci Reynolds (Fr., Vancouver/Columbia River), No.6 Lindsay Mann-King (So., Colville), No.5 Kailyn McGrath (Jr., Fillmore, CA/Villanova Prep), No.4 Metta Gilbert (Fr., Helena, MT), No.3 Gail Lumsden (Sr., Everett/Mariner), No.2 Amelia Whitcomb (Fr., Spokane/Ferris), bow Stephanie Parker (So., Marysville, WA/Marysville-Pilchuck/SPU)

Varsity 4 – Coxswain Elisabeth Johnson (Jr., Seattle/Franklin), stroke Courtney Moeller (Sr., Renton/Liberty), No.3 Samantha Marikis (Fr., Republic), No.2 Tanya Kaufman (Fr., San Anselmo, CA/Sir Francis Drake), bow Jordon Tobler (Fr., Langley/South Whidbey)

Alternates – Katrina Anderson (Jr., Anchorage, AK/West Anchorage), Quinn Sanford (Sr., Olympia/Capital/Cottey JC Nev.)