This past weekend was the last regular season race for the majority of the D1 schools, most of which are headed next to their conference championships. A common trend this weekend was many of the V8 races were tight as most schools are now hitting their top speed for the spring. Let's take a look at last week's action.
Cal #1-tie, Stanford #5
The Big Row was held at the Redwood Shores where these two top-tier schools finished the day with a great race in the V8. Cal and Stanford V8's were fairly level for the first half of the race before Cal was able to push out for a two-second win for the Lambert Cup. The 2V8 and the V4 were also taken by Cal on a day the crews dedicated the day as they do each year to former Cal coxswain Jill Costello who passed away in 2010 after a courageous battle with cancer. What a great tradition and tribute to a teammate and competitor.
Longhorn Invite - Texas #3, Iowa #8, Virginia #9, Oklahoma #18, Alabama, Miami, Oregon St, UCF
The Longhorn Invitational ran heats and finals for the eight schools representing five different conferences for some good cross-conference racing. The host school Texas concluded the regatta by winning the V8 by one length over Iowa, with UVA back another nine seconds. In the 2V8, UVA took the top spot by a length over Texas and Iowa was third another eight seconds back. In the V4 event, UVA surprisingly took the win over a strong Texas V4 by a three second margin. Iowa finished third while Oregon St finished fourth. Oregon St also finished fourth in the V8 and the 2V8.
Yale #6, Brown #11
On Tuesday morning, Yale made the trek to Providence to race Brown to compete for the Nat and Anne Case Cup. Both schools, who traditionally have great depth, put on a great show as all three races were very tight. The hometown team managed to sweep the V8, the 2V8, and the V4 with the winning margin ranging from 1.4 to 2 seconds. These two schools will be squaring off again soon at the Ivy League Championships.
Michigan #7, Louisville
Michigan played host to Louisville where the Cardinals brought their A-game in the V8, pressing the Wolverines most of the way down the course, finishing a length back at the finish. Michigan took the 2V8 and the V4 more comfortably.
Princeton #10, Wisconsin #13, Syracuse
The Princeton Tigers V8 took the lead from the start as Wisconsin and Syracuse fought hard to keep pace in the first half of the race sitting roughly a half-length back. In the second half, Syracuse fell off the pace finishing a length from Wisconsin, who was 3.5 seconds off the winning crew, Princeton.
In the 2V8, Wisconsin showed great discipline running in third place for the first 750 meters. Over the next 750m, Wisconsin worked their way through Syracuse and Princeton to the lead on their way to a five-second victory over Princeton with Syracuse another three seconds back. The V4 was the tightest race of the day, where the Badgers won by three seconds over Princeton and Syracuse another three seconds back.
USC #12, UCLA - LA City Dual
Racing on the Port of LA, the barge gods sent several barges out during race time, so races were delayed but did get off for the LA City Dual. USC's strong V8 won easily over UCLA by 13 seconds. The 2V8 was a closer margin, with USC winning by two-lengths before the V4 was taken by UCLA by 14 seconds over USC.
Dale England Cup - Indiana #14, Duke #16, Notre Dame, Penn
This race had four schools who have their sights on making the NCAA's, and whenever "bubble teams" meet up, it makes for some high-stakes racings.
The conditions for the racing were tough with a firm 10-mph wind gusting to 22-mph, which made the V8 take seven and a half minutes to complete the course. Penn took that V8 event beating out Indiana by six-seats while Notre Dame and Duke finished a length and 1.5 lengths behind Penn respectfully.
The 2V8 had Indiana and Notre Dame in a nail-biter right down the end of the race, posting the same time for a dead heat. Penn and Duke rounded out the field. The V4 ended up to be a 1600m race because of conditions and the crews finished Indiana, Notre Dame, Penn and Duke.
(Editor's note: we have learned since this report posted that conditions were extremely bad, with varsity eights nearly swamping across apparently unfair lanes, a 2V8 swamping outright at the start, and the fours "rowing into" the race, but with one crew apparently bailing water to the side of the course when the race was started. This is only one account, but from what we know, it is important to know how extreme the conditions were. Thanks to folks who helped us make this addition.)
Harvard women with the Eastern Sprints Trophy
At the Eastern Sprints, Harvard-Radcliffe was able to sweep all three NCAA events, putting themselves in good position going into their conference championships.
The V8 event had Harvard-Radcliffe winning by a length over Dartmouth, just ahead of Rutgers in third. The 2V8 was a little closer with Harvard-Radcliffe finishing ahead of second-place Rutgers by three-seconds with Northeastern one-seat off the Scarlet Knights. Harvard-Radcliffe rounded out the sweep in the V4 with a seven-second win over Dartmouth and Drexel another two-seconds back.
My Fast Five
Here are my top five in each of the NCAA events for the D1 schools.
For D2 schools, last weekend saw schools representing the three different regions competing against each other, which will weigh heavily for who is the top school for each region. Let's have a look.
Western Intercollegiate Rowing Championships (WIRA)
This unique two-day event is held on Lake Natoma, where D2, D3 and Club schools race together and the D1 schools race separately. For the D2 schools, this was a race where Central Oklahoma solidified their top ranking in the West Region by winning the V8 event with a seven-second win over Western Washington. UCSD finished three quarters of a length off Western Washington. In the V4 event, which is the other NCAA event for D2 schools, Western Washington top the top spot over Central Oklahoma by a little open water and UCSD took third. With Central Oklahoma on track to take the West Region AQ, I see Western Washington and UCSD qualifying the V8 for the NCAA's.
Sunshine State Conference
The Conference championship represents the South Region of the D2 schools and racing in perfect conditions, it was FIT who came out on top. With Barry and FIT making it a two-boat race in the last 500 meters, FIT was able to nudge out Barry by half a seat. In the V4, Barry took the win by a length over FIT and Rollins another length back. At this point, FIT would make the NCAA's as the AQ and Barry would take the one At-Large team spot.
New England 10 Challenge
Jefferson had an impressive win over Trinity and Amherst, winning by four lengths in the V8 and placing third in the V4. Jefferson has the inside track for the NCAA big from the East Region (check polls for the Regions). Jefferson jumped into the top 8 last week in the D2 National poll and sit atop the East Region which will give them an NCAA bid.
Just about all the D2 schools will be racing at the Dad Vails in two weeks which can provide a last chance opportunity to make the NCAAs, which should make for some exciting D2 racing.
This WEEK'S RACES TO WATCH
Windermere - West Washington/Seattle Pacific
Division 3 has two of their four NCAA AQ winners determined after this past weekend's racing. Next weekend, schools will compete for the final two AQ spot, which will leave everyone else vying for the four At-Large team spots.
Wellesley punched their NCAA ticket with an impressive WPI team pressing Wellesley for the win, finishing 3 seconds off the NCAA-bound Wellesley. In the 2V event, Wellesley completed the sweep with a nine-second win over WPI.
Next Friday, a large number of D3 schools will be competing in Worcester, which could play a big role in helping to determine the final four NCAA teams. However, it could turnout that the race weekend that could determine the "last in-last out" may have already taken place where PLU and WPI faced off twice over the weekend and PLU hand the upper hand in the V8 while splitting the 2V8.
Washington College won is sixth straight MARC Championship, which qualifies them for the NCAA's. Washington College had the fastest time in the heats for the V8 and by the afternoon, the final for the V8 got canceled, so the times in the heats were used, and Washington College was declared winner the that event to go with their victory in the 2V8 which was a final only. Johnson and Wales finished second in points just ahead of Franklin and Marshall.
Bates #1, UNH, Middlebury
Bates racing in Boston
Bates cruised to an easy victory in both the V8 and 2V8, with UNH finishing ahead of Middlebury in both eights events.
Hamilton #4, Ithaca #5, Colgate(D1), Marist (D1)
Ithaca College won the double-dual format in the V8 event by beating Marist by a length in the final two-boat race. In the 2V8 event, Marist edged out Ithaca by 3.5 seconds. Hamilton, who faced off with Ithaca in the morning heats, lost to Ithaca by ten-seconds in the V8 in the afternoon. The 2V8 was a different story as the two crews went at it down the course, but it was Ithaca winning by a seat.
WIRA - Puget Sound #9
Puget Sound had their last race of the regular season and finished fifth in the V8 event with other D2 and club teams mixed in. For the 2V8 event, Puget Sound finished second to UC Santa Barbara. Puget Sound is close to getting an At-Large bid but may come up just short as they sit behind PLU.
Thursday 4/26 - William Smith #12, U of Rochester
William Smith won easily over U of Rochester in both events. William Smith does have opportunities to make the NCAA's in the upcoming weekends but will need a jump in speed.
The next two conference championships are Liberty League and the NESCAC, which will produce the final two AQ winners. The Liberty League will take place this Friday, and newcomer to the Liberty League Ithaca will be the favorite. For the NESCAC, Bates will be the favorite, as they are not only the top seeded team in their conference, but they are also the top-ranked team in D3.
St John Fisher
U of Rochester
NEXT WEEK'S RACES TO WATCH
Liberty League-AQ NERC
BU lightweight eight at Eastern Sprints
Eastern Sprints - BU #2, Wisconsin #3, Princeton #4, Georgetown #5, Harvard-Radcliffe #6
With the top five east coast teams getting together in one place this late into the season, it gives a good sense of the best candidate to take on Stanford at the IRA's. BU won the V8 event by 6.5 seconds over Princeton, who finished a length ahead of Wisconsin. The V4 event was won by Wisconsin by 12 seconds over Princeton with Georgetown in third. The double was a solid race as Wisconsin won by 1.5 seconds over Princeton and BU took third.
WIRA - Stanford #1
Stanford keeps on rolling, as they won the D1 V8 event by a touch of open water over SDSU and Loyola Marymount. Stanford lights raced in the V4 and took fourth to SDSU. Stanford being the only fast lightweight school on the west coast has kept themselves sharp by racing a solid schedule with openweight schools.
This week's Poll Results
CRCA/USRowing Coaches Poll
USRowing Collegiate Poll