GOLD RIVER, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's varsity eight, second varsity eight, novice eight and varsity four each received a top four seed heading into this weekend's 31-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) over a seven-year span. Last season, the Hornets claimed gold in the second varsity eight, varsity four and novice lightweight four races, a silver in the novice eight, and a bronze in the varsity eight. However, the team finished third behind San Diego and Gonzaga, respectively, 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 schedule will consist of 36 races (20 on the women's side, 16 on the men's side) beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing until approximately 4:20 p.m. Sunday's competition, which includes the grand finals for every event, consists of 23 races (13 on the women's side, 10 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.
A total of eight schools will challenge for this year's Div. I varsity eight championship, consisting of No. 1 seed Loyola Marymount, No. 2 Saint Mary's, No. 3 Gonzaga, No. 4 Sacramento State, No. 5 Stanford Lightweights, No. 6 UC Davis, No. 7 San Diego State and No. 8 Santa Clara. Two heats of four boats will compete at 10:20 and 10:30 a.m., on Saturday with the top three finishers from each race competing in the grand final on Sunday at noon.
Over the last 13 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 two third-place finishes (2005, 2011), a pair of fourth places finishes (2003, 2007) and a sixth-place finish in 2008. This year's Hornet varsity eight currently has an 6-6-1 dual-meet record, but five of those six losses have come against crews ranked in the CRCA/USRowing Coaches top 25 poll. Other dual-meet records for Sacramento State boats include the second varsity eight (4-5), novice eight (9-3) and varsity four (7-6).
Last year's varsity eight grand final proved to be the most exciting of the day as only 3.5 seconds separated the top three finishers. San Diego placed first with a time of 6:31.1, followed by Gonzaga's mark of 6:33.4 and the Hornets' season-best time of 6:34.6.
Sacramento State's second varsity eight earned the No. 2 seed this year, and has medaled in its grand final seven times in the last 10 years. Sacramento State's novice eight is the No. 1 seed, and the boat will look to medal in the event for the fifth time since 2005.
Besides the varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight, the Hornets will also compete boats in the varsity four, a competition that will feature the Hornets as the No. 1 seed, and the novice four.
Women's grand final times (that Sacramento State will be competing) on Sunday include the varsity four (8:10 a.m.), novice four (8:20 a.m.), novice eight (10:10 a.m.), second varsity eight (10:50 a.m.) and varsity eight (noon).
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