WWU earns at-large berth to championships


The Western Washington University women's rowing team received word Monday afternoon that it has earned an at-large berth in the 13th annual NCAA Division II National Championships that will be held on May 30 to June 1 at the Indianapolis Rowing Center in Eagle Creek Park near Indianapolis, Ind. It will be co-hosted by the University of Notre Dame and the Indiana Sports Corporation.

The Vikings, who received official confirmation from the NCAA II Women's Rowing Selection Committee, will continue their string of competing at every DII national championship since the event began in 2002. It is the second time WWU has been an at-large entry, the other being in 2003, while representing the West Region every other year.

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 Humboldt State representing the West Region, Mercyhurst from the East Region and defending champion Nova Southeastern FL from the South Region. Humboldt State took the 2012 title.

WWU is currently ranked No.3 nationally in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/USRowing DII Poll behind No.1 Nova Southeastern and No.2 Humboldt State.

The Vikings' four won and the eight placed second at the 2014 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta in April. Humboldt State took the eight and was second in the four competition. The WWU four has not lost to a DII school this season.

Competition begins Friday, May 30, with two heats of three boats in the eights at 11:10 a.m. ET and 11:20 a.m. ET, followed by two four heats at 11:30 a.m. ET and 11:40 a.m. ET. Winners in each heat advance to grand finals Sunday, June 1 (fours 9:30 a.m. ET, eights 9:50 a.m. ET).

Losers of the Friday's heats compete in repechages Saturday, May 31, (eights 10:30 a.m. ET, fours 10:40 a.m. ET) with the top two finishers in the eight and four races advancing to the grand finals.

At nationals, participants receive 12 points for the first-place eight, nine for second, six for third and three for fourth. The victorious four gets eight points, with six points awarded for second, four for third and two for fourth.

Overall, this is the 14th consecutive trip to nationals for WWU. The Vikings competed in the NCAA championship for all divisions in 2001, the varsity eight finishing sixth in its qualifying, repechage and third final races. In 2002, each school raced two eights at nationals.

This is the second straight year that Indianapolis has been the host.

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