GOLD RIVER, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's varsity eight (No. 4), second varsity eight (No. 2) and novice eight (No. 2) each received a top four seed heading into this weekend's 33-school Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma.
The Hornets will attempt to win their fourth WIRA team championship (2006, 2007, 2009) in the last five years.
The regatta is the biggest event of the season for Sacramento State as it serves as the team's conference championship. Saturday's regatta (May 1) will consist of 45 races (23 on the women's side, 22 on the men's side) beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing until approximately 5 p.m. Sunday's competition (May 2), which includes the grand finals for nearly every event, consists of 24 races (14 on the women's side, 10 on the men's side) beginning at 8 a.m. and running until noon. The awards ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m.
Last year, the Hornets' varsity eight, second varsity eight, novice eight, second novice eight, varsity four and novice four each finished among the top six boats in their respective grand finals to earn the Hornets the WIRA team trophy. Teams accumulate points with finishes in grand final events, and the Hornets were able to earn enough points with six top-six finishes to win the team title. In addition, the Hornets' varsity eight took home a silver medal, marking the ninth time the team had medaled in the WIRA varsity eight grand final since the program gained intercollegiate status in 1995.
This year's women's varsity eight competition will begin Saturday with heats at 10:20 and 10:30 a.m., and Sacramento State will compete in the heat at 10:20 a.m. against favorite Gonzaga, San Diego State, Saint Mary's and Santa Clara. The grand final will take place on Sunday at 11:50 a.m. A total of nine schools will challenge for this year's Div. I women's varsity eight championship, which is considered the premier event in women's rowing. The nine schools are comprised of No. 1 seed Gonzaga, No. 2 San Diego, No. 3 UC Davis, No. 4 Sacramento State, No. 5 San Diego State, No. 6 Puget Sound, No. 7 Loyola Marymount, No. 8 Saint Mary's and No. 9 Santa Clara.
Over the last 10 years in varsity eight action, the Hornets' top boat has finished second last season, sixth in 2008, fourth in 2007, first in 2006, third in 2005, second in 2004, fourth in 2003, second in 2002, and first in both 2000 and 2001. This year's varsity eight currently has a 7-7 dual-meet record, but six of those defeats have come to programs either ranked in the top 25 or receiving votes. Gonzaga (receiving votes) is the only WIRA team currently getting top 25 consideration.
In last year's varsity eight grand final, Gonzaga won its third straight title with a time of 6:48.9, followed by Sacramento State, San Diego, Saint Mary's, UC Davis and San Diego State, respectively. Dating back to 2000, either Sacramento State, Gonzaga or Loyola Marymount has won the varsity eight grand final every year.
The Hornets' second varsity eight earned the No. 2 seed this year, and has medaled in its grand final six times in the last eight years. Sacramento State's novice eight also earned the No. 2 seed in its heat, as the team won a bronze medal at the event last year.
Besides the varsity eight and second varsity eight, the Hornets will also compete boats in the varsity four, novice lightweight four, novice four, pair and novice eight.
Women's grand final times (that Sacramento State could be competing) on Sunday include the varsity four (8:10 a.m.), novice lightweight four (8:20 a.m.), novice four (8:30 a.m.), pair (9 a.m.), novice eight (9:50 a.m.), second varsity eight (10:30 a.m.) and varsity eight (11:50 a.m.).
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