ROWING CLAIMS FIRST WIRA VARSITY EIGHT CROWN SINCE 2006
GOLD RIVER, Calif. – Despite entering the weekend as the No. 4 seed, Sacramento State's varsity eight won its first conference championship since 2006 with a 2,000-meter time of 6:56.5 in the final day of the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships Sunday morning on Lake Natoma. The WIRA's serve as the Hornets' conference championship regatta.
Considered the most prestigious race in rowing, the Hornets won their fourth varsity eight title in 11 years (2000, 2001, 2006, 2010). Dating back to 2000, either Sacramento State, Gonzaga or Loyola Marymount has won the varsity eight grand final every year.
Despite dealing with a heavy cross wind, and choppy water over the final 1,000 meters, Sacramento State crossed the finish line a three-quarter boat's length ahead of second place San Diego (6:59.0) and 2.8 seconds faster than third-place and race favorite Gonzaga (6:59.3). Rounding out the top six in the race were UC Davis (7:05.3), San Diego State (7:12.7) and Puget Sound (7:28.5).
Three Hornet varsity eight members were named first team all-WIRA for their efforts including Holly Hopkins, Heather Hopkins and Tori Jackson. The gold medal for varsity eight also marked the 10th time the boat had medaled in the WIRA varsity eight grand final since the program gained intercollegiate status in 1995
"I'm very proud of our varsity eight crew, especially considering the rough weather conditions," Sacramento State head coach Mike Connors said. "We beat two very fast crews in San Diego and Gonzaga.
"I always felt like were capable of a performance like this, and it all came together today. The boat rowed solid in its heat (yesterday), and really elevated its performance in today's final."
Despite the varsity eight championship, Sacramento State fell short of winning the WIRA team points title. The Hornets had entered the event as winners of three WIRA team titles over the last four years (2006, 2007, 2009). Among Div. I schools, San Diego accumulated the most points with 392, followed by Sacramento State (382), UC Davis (347) and Gonzaga (340) to round out the top four.
Teams accumulate points with finishes in grand final events, and the Hornets did not generate enough points despite six of the squad's boats reaching their respective grand finals. The Hornets' six boats that competed in finals today included the varsity four, novice lightweight four, pair, novice eight, second varsity eight and varsity eight.
Sacramento State had three boats medal, including the varsity eight, novice lightweight four (first) and varsity four (third). The team's second varsity eight, novice eight and pair all placed fourth.
In the second varsity eight competition, Sacramento State's time of 6:43.7 trailed Gonzaga (6:34.6), San Diego (6:41.2) and UC Davis (6:42.9). The Hornets were less than one second from finishing ahead of UC Davis and gaining a bronze medal.
In the novice eight competition, which was comprised of a six-boat field, Gonzaga won with a time of 7:19.9, followed by UC Santa Barbara (7:24.4), San Diego State (7:26.3) and the Hornets (7:33.8) to round out the top four.
Despite a varsity four which included three first-year rowers, the boat fared well, picking up a bronze medal. San Diego had a winning time of 7:42.8, followed by UC Davis (7:47.0) and Sacramento State (7:49.4). The varsity four's coxswain, Erin DeGoede, was named second team all-WIRA. The boat also took home a bronze at last year's WIRA Championships.
"I was extremely happy with the performance of our varsity four," Connors said. "That boat consisted of three pure novices and a sophomore, and still took home a medal. In fact, both our small boats did real well with the novice lightweight four winning gold."
The novice lightweight four's winning time of 8:17.6 was faster than three Pac-10 Conference schools, as Cal (8:18.2), Washington State (8:44.9), Humboldt State (9:18.9) and Stanford (9:24.4) trailed.
Complete results of all the Hornets' races are below.
Sacramento State returns to the water next week (May 7-8) when the team competes in the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. At last year's Dad Vail, the Hornets finished third in the petite final of Women's Varsity Heavyweight Eight event.
SACRAMENTO STATE'S LINEUPS
cox – Jessa Carlson, stroke - Holly Hopkins, 7 - Heather Hopkins, 6 - Emily Airoldi, 5 - Sarah Pivonka, 4 – Sarah Slagle, 3 - Kellie Cook, 2 – Charlotte Dolan, bow - Tori Jackson
SECOND VARSITY EIGHT
cox – Teresa Seich, stroke - Pam Kline, 7 – Madeleine Folco, 6 – Caitlin Brennan, 5 – Joanne Stacy, 4 - Elizabeth Danielson, 3 - Tess Heidig, 2 - Ana Fletcher, bow - Rebecca Woolston
cox – Kristin Pries, stroke – Shelley Zakskorn, 7 – Amy Tice, 6 – Catherine Smith, 5 – Stephanie Thomas, 4 – Melissa Latimer, 3 – Adrian Sperry, 2 – Jennifer Decicio, bow – Rachel Lethco
cox – Erin DeGoede,, stroke – Sadeeka Dosu, 3 – Stephanie Thomas, 2 – Melissa Latimer, bow – Adrian Sperry
NOVICE LIGHTWEIGHT FOUR
cox – Socheata Guimond, stroke – Shelley Zakskorn, 3 – Haley Brown, 2 – Megan Gilmore, bow – Marissa Covarrubias
Jessica Beahm and Alyse Marlatt
SACRAMENTO STATE'S WOMEN'S RESULTS
VARSITY FOUR GRAND FINAL
1. San Diego 7:42.8
2. UC Davis 7:47.0
3. Sacramento State 7:49.4
4. Gonzaga 7:50.0
5. San Diego State 7:52.1
6. Santa Clara 8:29.8
7. Loyola Marymount 8:35.7
NOVICE LIGHTWEIGHT FOUR GRAND FINAL
1. Sacramento State 8:17.6
2. Cal 8:18.2
3. Washington State 8:44.9
4. Humboldt State 9:18.9
5. Stanford 9:24.4
PAIR GRAND FINAL
1. Humboldt State 8:24.7
2. Portland 8:28.0
3. Chapman 8:41.5
4. Sacramento State 8:45.7
5. Seattle 9:01.6
6. UC Santa Barbara 9:10.7
NOVICE EIGHT GRAND FINAL
1. Gonzaga 7:19.9
2. UC Santa Barbara 7:24.4
3. San Diego State 7:26.3
4. Sacramento State 7:33.8
5. UC Davis 7:37.3
6. San Diego 7:53.0
SECOND VARSITY EIGHT GRAND FINAL
1. Gonzaga 6:34.6
2. San Diego 6:41.2
3. UC Davis 6:42.9
4. Sacramento State 6:43.7
5. Puget Sound 6:47.6
6. San Diego State 6:49.3
7. Loyola Marymount 6:53.9
VARSITY EIGHT GRAND FINAL
1. Sacramento State 6:56.5
2. San Diego 6:59.0
3. Gonzaga 6:59.3
4. UC Davis 7:05.3
5. San Diego State 7:12.7
6. Puget Sound 7:28.5