GOLD RIVER, Calif. – Sacramento State women's varsity eight, novice eight and pair each finished among the top two boats in their respective heats Saturday in the first day of the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships at Lake Natoma.

The WIRA's serve as the Hornets' conference championship regatta, and the team's performance today sets up an opportunity for Sacramento State to win its second straight and fourth WIRA team title in the last five years when racing resumes tomorrow. San Diego, UC Davis and Gonzaga are also in the hunt for the team championship.

The Hornets' novice eight finished first in its heat while the varsity eight and pair finished second in their respective heats. Each of those boats will appear in grand finals tomorrow along with the varsity four, novice lightweight four and second varsity eight. The varsity four, novice lightweight four and second varsity eight were automatically slotted into tomorrow's grand finals and did not have to compete in any heat racing today.

Sacramento State has six WIRA team titles in the trophy case (1995, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009), and the Hornets will look to add their seventh tomorrow. In addition, the Hornets' varsity eight posted its fastest home water time of the season (6:42.3) today, and will look to win its fifth WIRA title in school history, and first since the 2006 season. The varsity eight is considered the most prestigious event in rowing.

"Today was a successful day for our team," Sacramento State head coach Mike Connors said. "We have six boats in tomorrow's grand finals, and that gives us a good opportunity to defend our team championship.

"I thought our crews raced well, and the varsity eight posted their fastest time of the season at Lake Natoma which sets up nicely for an exciting final tomorrow."

In the Hornets' varsity eight heat, Gonzaga, who is the No. 1 seed in the grand final, posted a winning time of 6:37.9, followed by Sacramento State (6:42.3), San Diego State (6:51.8), Saint Mary's (7:18.4) and Santa Clara (7:18.5). Sacramento State will take on Gonzaga, San Diego, UC Davis, Puget Sound and San Diego State in tomorrow's grand final at 11:50 a.m.

The Hornets' novice eight won its heat with a time of 7:23.2, finishing ahead of San Diego State (7:28.4) and Humboldt State (7:30.4) to round out the top three in the five-boat field. Sacramento State will take on Gonzaga, UC Santa Barbara, San Diego State, UC Davis and San Diego in tomorrow's grand final at 9:50 a.m.

Sacramento State's pair (9:25.7) posted a second-place finish in its heat and will compete in its grand final tomorrow at 9 a.m. The Hornets' novice four finished third in its heat, narrowly missing out on making the grand final. However, the team did finish first in its petite final today with a time of 8:32.0 to gain points in the team trophy standings. All six boats in the grand final, and the first place finisher in the petite final earn weighted points towards the team title.

Other grand final times tomorrow for Sacramento State include the varsity four (8:10 a.m.), lightweight four (8:20 a.m.) and second varsity eight (10:30 a.m.).

Sunday's full slate of racing, 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.



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


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 – Socheata Guimond, stroke – Vanessa Ambriz, 3 – Noelle Giddens, 2 – Ashley Sams, bow – Jessica Khalil

Jessica Beahm and Alyse Marlatt



1. San Diego 7:58.2
2. Saint Mary's 8:04.4
3. Sacramento State 8:12.4
4. Seattle 8:46.2

1. Gonzaga 6:37.9
2. Sacramento State 6:42.3
3. San Diego State 6:51.8
4. Saint Mary's 7:18.4
5. Santa Clara 7:18.5

1. Sacramento State 7:23.2
2. San Diego State 7:28.4
3. Humboldt State 7:30.4
4. Willamette 7:38.7
5. Lewis & Clark 8:01.4

NOVICE FOUR (Petite Final)
1. Sacramento State 8:32.0
2. Cal 8:46.4
3. UC Santa Barbara 8:48.7
4. Seattle 9:12.7
5. Orange Coast College 9:29.0
6. Mills College 9:44.4

PAIR (Heat 2)
1. Humboldt State 9:08.5
2. Sacramento State 9:25.7
3. UC Santa Barbara 9:31.9
4. Long Beach State 9:32.6
5. Evergreen State 9:36.4
6. Pacific Lutheran 9:37.0