One down, ten to go! This coming weekend, ten league champions will be determined while one was crowned this past weekend. Let’s go league by league.
The A10’s was the one conference championship that took place this past weekend on the Cooper River. Coming into the championship, you had the top-seed Rhode Island, the defending champions UMass, and George Washington, coming into the weekend as the number two seed in the V8 and 2V8, all three of these schools with a legitimate chance of winning the title.
In the morning heats of the V8 with the top three to the finals, Rhode Island won the first heat by three-seconds over Fordham and St. Joe’s third another length back. In the second heat, UMass won by a length over GW and George Mason third.
UMass also had a faster time than URI by 6.4 seconds which meant they were ready to go for the finals. In the 2V8, it was URI winning, St Joe's second and Duquesne third while the other heat was won by GW (faster than URI as well by 5 seconds), UMass second and Fordham third. The V4 heats were won by UMass and St. Joe's with GW, URI, Duquesne and Fordham rounding out the grand finals.
The afternoon finals, however, is where the last chapter is written, and Rhode Island put the final punctuation on the day by winning the A10 Championships and a spot at the NCAA’s.
The V4 race was a surprise as the top-seeded crew for this event, UMass, was outrun by St Joe's who took the gold medal, winning by 2.4 seconds. GW finished third a length ahead of URI.
The 2V8 final was won by URI, which set up the V8 to clinch the title with a win in the V8. The remaining order in the 2V8 saw GW nudge out UMass by three-seats, and Fordham fourth. Coming into the V8 final, if GW, UMass or URI won the V8, they would win the AQ, and judging by the morning heats, it was anyone’s game.
All three crews were within a length of each other for the majority of the race, but in the end it was URI winning by 2.5 seconds over UMass and GW third.
Washington and Cal will have another go this weekend
This final-only event will be held on Lake Natoma and will feature the five teams in the top 20, which will make for one fierce championship. Washington #1 and California #2 have traded the top spot twice this season. Don’t be surprised it exchanges hands a few more times before seasons end.
In the Cal-Washington dual, it was the Golden Bears who won the V8 before Washington won the 2V8 and V4 with all the race margins under four-seconds. Stanford #5, who is looking to break into the Cal-Washington duo, will also have to watch for USC #12 and Washington St #15 as all three of those schools in the V8 finished within 1.5 seconds of each other.
UCLA and Oregon St will also be looking for success as OSU has had good success this season in the V8 while UCLA has found success in the lower boats.
NCAA picture, I see the PAC 12 sending five schools this year.
Texas racing at the Crew Classic
The Big 12 rowing conference will be gathering in Oak Ridge, TN and will be rowing their heats on Saturday afternoon, and the finals on Sunday morning. The conference is lead by Texas #3 and they look to repeat again this season.
The Longhorns have enjoyed a strong regular season and look to add another Big 12 Championship. At the 2017 Big 12 Championships, Texas did sweep all three NCAA events and look to repeat that feat again.
Oklahoma was last year’s runner up as Tennessee took third in the team point standings. Rounding out last year’s standings was Alabama, Kansas St, Kansas, Old Dominion and West Virginia. There should be some good racing taking place among these schools as they look to improve upon their standing from a year ago.
NCAA picture, I see the Big 12 sending one school this year.
The Big Ten is gathering in Indianapolis where the eight Big Ten schools will line up eight lanes across in a final-only format. Ohio St #4 enters as the highest ranked team in the Big Ten and returning championships. Michigan #6 came within one-point last year of winning the Big Ten’s and are hoping they can turn the tables on the Buckeye’s.
The big story in the Big Ten is the arrival of Iowa #8, who took another big step forward with their team, showing tremendous speed in the V8 and 2V8.
In the last 500m, look for Iowa to be in the mix in the top two events. Wisconsin #13 and Indiana #14 will be looking for opportunities to come home with some Big Ten medals, and to perform well enough to qualify for the NCAA’s. Michigan St #20, Minnesota and Rutgers will round out the field as bottom half of the Big Ten has gotten much faster which will make for exciting racing, start to finish.
NCAA picture, I see the Big Ten sending five schools this year.
Virginia at the Clemson Invite
This year, Virginia #7 leads the way as they have great depth again this season and are looking to defend their ACC title from 2017. They should be heavy favorites to win the 2V8 and V4, but in the V8 it has gotten tighter as Notre Dame #17 and Duke #18 have found some late boat speed to be in the top 20 as they go into the conference championships.
UVA is in good position for the NCAA’s, but if the ACC wants to get a second team to the NCAA’s, someone other than UVA will have to win the V8. Just outside the top 20 is Syracuse, who finished second in 2017, and Louisville, who are capable to make some noise at the ACC’s. Boston College, Clemson, Miami and North Carolina will be looking to make the grand finals.
NCAA picture, I see the ACC sending one school this year.
Princeton and Yale in dual racing with Iowa
The Cooper River will play host to the Ivy League Championship where the eight schools will race heats and finals. The Ivy League is the one conference championship where the winner of the V8 wins the AQ.
The top three Ivy schools come into this event ranked right together with Yale #9, Brown #10 and Princeton #11. These three school are in good shape for making the NCAA’s but for now they are dialed in on winning the league championship.
Yale and Brown with their talented depth, had three great races less than two weeks ago, while Princeton shows their strength more in the V8. Harvard #16 comes into this weekend being the last-team right now for the NCAA and if they can finish at least fourth in V8 and 2V8, that should be enough to get them there. However, schools like Penn #19 and Dartmouth have shown good speed at times this spring and are looking to spoil the party, as well as Columbia and Cornell.
NCAA picture, I see the Ivy sending four schools this year.
The American AC will be racing on the Cooper River in a final-only format for the seven schools. UCF is the defending champion, but Tulsa had a solid year and looks to be ready to take the title and qualify for the NCAA’s. Sacramento St, who finished third in all three NCAA events, is looking to move up this AAC championships. San Diego St, UConn, Temple and SMU are looking to break into the medals.
NCAA picture, I see the AAC sending one school this year.
Northeastern at Women's Sprints
The Colonial AA will also be at the Cooper River following on the heels of the AAC Championships. Northeastern will be looking to win as defending champions and return to the NCAA’s, while Drexel is the top contender to Northeastern. Drexel should also have a loud crowd supporting the Dragons with a short trip to the Cooper River. Delaware, Eastern Michigan, and Villanova round out the field of five.
NCAA picture, I see the CAA sending one school this year.
The Metro Atlantic AC will be racing heats and finals over two days on the Cooper River for the ten participating schools. Jacksonville is the 2017 champions and is looking to defend it against 2017 runner-up Marist. Last season Canisius, Fairfield and Drake finished in the top half and will be battling it out for some medals. Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Iona, Manhattan and Stetson will be looking to make gains from a season ago.
NCAA picture, I see the MAAC sending one school this year.
Navy at Clemson Invite
The Patriot League will be kicking off the conference championship weekend by racing Friday morning on the Cooper River. Navy is the 2017 champions and they have been quietly enjoying a successful 2018 campaign.
Navy is the top-seed in all three NCAA events. BU is the #2 seed in the V8, while Bucknell in the 2V8 and V4. In the V8, Bucknell is the #3 seed followed by Georgetown and MIT. Lehigh is the #3 seed in both the 2V8 and V4. Colgate’s V8 is their highest seeded boat at #7, while Holy Cross’ highest seeded boat is their V4 at #4. Loyola is looking to improve on last year’s performance.
NCAA picture, I see the Patriot League sending one school this year.
The West Coast rowing championships will be racing on Lake Natoma where Gonzaga swept the three NCAA events last year and are looking strong to repeat in 2018.
Last year at the championships, San Diego was the runner-up to the Zags, with the 2V8 event being the tightest event of the three. Loyola Marymount finished third at the 2017 followed by Portland, St Mary’s, Creighton and Santa Clara.
NCAA picture, I see the West Coast sending one school this year.