ROWING LOOKS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT WIRA TEAM TITLE THIS WEEKEND
GOLD RIVER, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight each received a top five seed heading into this weekend's 29-school Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma. The Hornets will attempt to win their third consecutive WIRA team championship and fifth in the last nine years.
The regatta is one of the biggest events of the season for Sacramento State as it serves as the team's conference championship. Saturday's regatta (May 3) will consist of 51 races (30 on the women's side, 21 on the men's side) beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing until approximately 5:40 p.m. Sunday's competition (May 4), which includes the grand finals for nearly every event, consists of 24 races (13 on the women's side, 11 on the men's side) beginning at 8 a.m. and running until the awards ceremony at 12:45 p.m.
At last year's WIRA regatta, Sacramento State's women's varsity eight, second varsity eight, novice eight, varsity four, novice four and pair each finished among the top five boats in their respective grand finals. Teams accumulate points with finishes in grand final events, and the Hornets were able to earn enough points with six top-five finishes to win the team title for the second straight year. In 2006, the Hornets were also crowned varsity eight champions, the most prestigious race at the regatta.
The women's varsity eight competition will begin Saturday with heats at 10:50 a.m. and 11 a.m., and Sacramento State will compete in the heat at 10:50 a.m. The grand final will take place on Sunday at 11:50 a.m. A total of 11 schools will challenge for the women's varsity eight championship, which is considered the premier event in women's rowing. The 11 schools are comprised of No. 1 seed UC Davis, No. 2 Gonzaga, No. 3 San Diego, No. 4 Sacramento State, No. 5 Western Washington, No. 6 San Diego State, No. 7 Saint Mary's, No. 8 Puget Sound, No. 9 Loyola Marymount, No. 10 Santa Clara and No. 11 UC Irvine.
Over the last eight years in varsity eight action, the Hornets' top boat has finished fourth last season, 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 5-2 dual-meet record, but the team fell to UC Davis last weekend.
In last year's varsity eight grand final, Gonzaga raced to a first-place time of 6:43.2, followed by UC Davis, Western Washington, Sacramento State, San Diego State and Loyola Marymount, respectively. Dating back to 2000, either Sacramento State, Gonzaga or Loyola Marymount has won the varsity eight grand final each year, but UC Davis is the favorite this season.
The Hornets' second varsity eight earned the No. 3 seed after posting a 5-1 dual-meet record this year and winning a bronze medal at last year's WIRA Championships. Sacramento State's novice eight, which received a No. 5 seed, is currently 4-2 in dual meets this season, and raced to a fifth-place finish at last year's WIRA regatta.
Last year's second varsity eight grand final saw UC Davis race to a winning time of 6:55.2, followed by Gonzaga, Sacramento State, San Diego State, Western Washington and Puget Sound, respectively. Last year's novice eight grand final was won by Gonzaga (6:57.1), followed by UC Davis, Humboldt State, San Diego State, Sacramento State and UC San Diego, respectively.
Women's grand final times this Sunday include the novice lightweight four (8 a.m.), novice four (8:20 a.m.), pair (8:40 a.m.), second novice eight (9 a.m.), lightweight four (9:20 a.m.), varsity four (9:40 a.m.), novice eight (10 a.m.), second varsity eight (10:30 a.m.), and varsity eight (11:50 a.m.).