The Western Washington University women's rowing team learned Monday afternoon, May 20, that it has earned a berth in the 12th annual NCAA Division II National Championships that will be held on May 31, June 1-2 at Eagle Creek Park near Indianapolis, Ind. Notre Dame and the Indiana Sports Corporation are serving as hosts.
The Vikings, who received official confirmation from the NCAA II Women's Rowing Selection Committee, will represent the West Region for the 10th straight year and for the 11th time in 12 seasons (at-large entry in 2003). Last year, they placed second after winning seven straight national titles from 2005 to 2011, a record for all NCAA rowing divisions.
WWU is one of four schools competing for the team championship - each school being required to row an eight and a four.
Also receiving bids, besides the Vikings, were Mercyhurst PA from the East Region, Barry FL from the South Region. Getting the at-large entry was Nova Southeastern FL from the South Region.
In addition, UC San Diego and Central Oklahoma received at-large berths in the eight competition. Those schools are not eligible for the team title.
WWU is currently ranked No.3 nationally, behind No.1 Barry, which received all five first-place votes, and No.2 Nova Southeastern. That trio is followed by No.4 Central Oklahoma, No.5 Humboldt State, No.6 UC San Diego, No.7 Mercyhurst and No.8.Dowling. Humboldt State, which did not make this year's national field, was last year's national champion.
The last non-WWU winner prior to 2012 was Mercyhurst in 2004.
"We're excited," WWU coach John Fuchs said in a press release. "The field is one of the strongest that we've seen. There are a lot of fast crews."
"I don't really go by the poll as most of the coaches who vote haven't seen us compete this year. We're not going into this any differently than past years. It's anybody's race."