Beginning with the fourth race and ending with the 13th of the 18-event schedule, the Huskies joined two-time defending team champions Ohio State as the only universities advancing all three boats into finals at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif.
GOLD RIVER, Calif. — It took less than two hours and required a little breath-holding, but the Washington women’s crew accomplished its goal Saturday in the compact, morning-only second day of the NCAA Championships.
Beginning with the fourth race and ending with the 13th of the 18-event schedule, the Huskies joined two-time defending team champion Ohio State as the only universities advancing all three boats into finals at Lake Natoma.
The Huskies’ success began with the varsity eight finishing third in the second semifinal at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center.
Washington, seeded fifth, took an early two-seat lead while rowing in a steady headwind and with temperatures in the lows 70s. But Ohio State quickly assumed an advantage it never lost en route to winning in 6 minutes, 29.322 seconds. Stanford was second in 6:33.274, with Washington finishing the 2,000 meters in 6:34.602.
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“I think we were pretty confident about it today,” said sophomore coxswain Marlow Mizer. “We knew that Brown has a pretty good sprint. We knew we were going out to attack it today and get through to the finals.”
California, top-seeded and undefeated, claimed the first semifinal in 6:27.366, followed by Virginia (6:29.464) and surprising Texas (6:34.356).
“It went all right; we knew it was going to be a really, really hard race,” said Washington coach Bob Ernst, whose varsity eight finished fourth last year. “We know we would have to beat Brown again, and we knew Stanford would be tough.”
Ernst added: “Our goal was to get all three boats into the finals. The varsity boats have a lot of young kids, and they did a really good job today. If you asked them, they said they didn’t have their best race, but they had a good race.”
Washington advanced to the semifinals, claiming the fourth heat Friday by .014 of a second.
“We had a comfortable lead and then we got pinched in,” said Mizer. “That motivated us today, and we respect our competition in the final, Cal, Ohio State and Stanford. It will be very interesting.”
Washington’s second varsity eight advanced, finishing runner-up to Ohio State.
The Huskies finished in 6:38.234, slightly less than two seconds behind the Buckeyes and more than four seconds ahead of California.
Washington’s varsity four ended the Huskies’ strong morning effort, finishing third in the second semifinal. The Huskies began the race with a two-seat deficit to Virginia, but Washington advanced most of the race comfortably in third place.
The Huskies finished in 7:26.777, but it took a strong final 100 meters to hold off Washington State, which finished in 7:27.334.
Washington State’s second varsity eight advanced into the finals, narrowly finishing third in the second semifinal, finishing in 6:36.842. Stanford was fourth in 6:36.987.
The regatta concludes Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. with the first of 15 finals.