GOLD RIVER, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight each received a No. 2 seed heading into this weekend's 35-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 six years. Last season, Sacramento State's varsity eight won the WIRA title (the biggest race in magnitude) for the first time since 2006. Among Div. I teams, Sacramento State finished second to San Diego in the final team points standings.
The WIRA regatta is the biggest event of the season for Sacramento State as it serves as the team's conference championship. Saturday's racing will consist of 39 races (17 on the women's side, 22 on the men's side) beginning at 8:10 a.m. and continuing until approximately 4:40 p.m. Sunday's competition, which includes the grand finals for nearly every event, consists of 25 races (13 on the women's side, 12 on the men's side) beginning at 8 a.m. and running until 12:10 p.m. The awards ceremony will take place at approximately 12:30 p.m.
There are no heats for this year's women's varsity eight competition, just a grand final that takes place at noon on Sunday. A total of seven schools will challenge for this year's Div. I varsity eight championship, consisting of No. 1 seed San Diego, No. 2 Sacramento State, No. 3 Gonzaga, No. 4 San Diego State, No. 5 Saint Mary's, No. 6 UC Davis and No. 7 Creighton.
Over the last 12 years in varsity eight action, the Hornets' top boat has four first-place finishes (2000-01, 2006, 2010), four second-place finishes (1999, 2002, 2004, 2009), a third-place finish (2005), a pair of fourth places finishes (2003, 2007) and a sixth-place finish in 2008. This year's varsity eight currently has an 8-6 dual-meet record, but five of those losses have come against crews either ranked or receiving votes in the top 25. One of the boat's victories came against No. 4 seed San Diego State on March 19 by more than six seconds.
In last year's varsity eight grand final, Sacramento State's time of 6:56.5 was followed by San Diego's time of 6:59.0 and Gonzaga (6:59.3) to round out the top three. 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 nine years. Sacramento State's novice eight is also the No. 2 seed, and the boat will look to medal in the event for the fourth time since 2005.
Besides the varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight, the Hornets will also compete boats in the varsity four, novice lightweight four, novice four and pair.
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 (8:40 a.m.), pair (9:10 a.m.), novice eight (10:10 a.m.), second varsity eight (10:50 a.m.) and varsity eight (noon).