The Western Washington University varsity eight had its best showing of the year in finishing third behind two Pacific-12 Conference shells at the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships held Saturday, May 16, at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma.
The Vikings’ top boat was timed in 6:49.6 over a 2,000-meter course. Stanford’s A entry won in 6:37.2, edging second-place Washington (6:37.5). San Diego was fourth (6:52.3), Stanford B fifth (6:54.3), Oklahoma City sixth (6:57.2) and Colorado seventh (7:17.5).
Seated in the WWU shell were coxswain Katey Sullivan, stroke Emily Bartlett, No.7 Megan Marler, No.6 Mary Harper, No.5 Kia Parrish-Hiam, No.4 Jenny Chang, No.3 Nicole Vanderzanden, No.2 Katya Hewitt and bow Kristin Foster.
“We had to put together a complete race and have a decent time and that’s what they did,” said WWU head coach John Fuchs. “They keep getting faster and faster. With a young team like this, we knew that it was going to take a while to get the boat going … Now it’s just a waiting game. I think they deserve to go, but it’s not up to us.”
Fuchs was referring to the selection announcement scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday, May 18, for the NCAA Division II National Championships.
WWU has gone to nationals every year since they began in 2002, winning seven championships from 2005 to 2011 and placing among the top three in all of them.
WWU’s varsity four was fifth at the PCRC in 8:02.9. The Vikings followed Stanford A (7:41.5), California (7:50.4), Washington (7:54.5), and Stanford B (7:59.5).
The Vikings’ novice four finished fifth in 8:04.5, well ahead of sixth place Sacramento State B (8:24.6). California B won in 7:31.3 with Gonzaga second (7:32.5), California A third (7:48.7), and Sacramento State A fourth (7:52.8).
“All three boats rowed well and put together the best races of the season,” Fuchs said. “We were very happy with that … Out of all the people making the trip, we lose just one rower and two coxswains to graduation.”
WWU ranked No.7 in this week’s Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association NCAA II National Poll behind Barry FL, Humboldt State, Mercyhurst, Philadelphia, Central Oklahoma and Nova Southeastern. UC San Diego was No.8.