ROWING CONCLUDES LAKE NATOMA INVITE WITH VICTORIES OVER TEXAS AND CENTRAL FLORIDA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State’s varsity eight finished first among three boats in Group 3, defeating crews from Texas and Central Florida in the second and final day of the Lake Natoma Invitational Sunday morning at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center.
The two-day, nine-team regatta featured a powerhouse lineup that included five nationally ranked varsity eight crews, comprised of No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Cal, No. 16 Wisconsin, No. 19 UCLA and No. 20 Minnesota. Tennessee is not ranked among the top 20 teams, but is receiving votes. Sacramento State, Texas and Central Florida rounded out the field.
Each of the nine teams were slotted into groups today based on yesterday’s heat performances. Cal, Stanford and Wisconsin were put into Group 1, UCLA, Minnesota and Tennessee were slotted into Group 2, and Sacramento State, Texas and Central Florida were put into Group 3 today.
Each school was given the opportunity to compete in four different categories during the two-day event, the varsity eight, second varsity eight, novice eight and varsity four. Sacramento State’s varsity eight’s first-place time of 6:41.80 in this morning’s Group 3 final outperformed Texas (6:42.37) and Central Florida (6:45.77). The Hornets trailed the first 1,500 meters of the race before their sprint over the final 500 meters was enough to overtake Texas and finish first.
That victory garnered enough points to give the Hornets a first-place showing in Group 3, and a seventh place finish overall. The only teams the Hornets did not finish ahead of were either ranked in the top 20 or receiving votes. In addition, the varsity eight’s victory over Texas was the first over the Longhorns since 2000, and the win over Central Florida was the first in school history.
The varsity eight managed a victory despite racing without the services of the team’s strongest rower, senior Megan Riggs, who was out with illness. Senior Michelle McMullen, who was racing for just the second time this spring after coming back from a back injury, was inserted into the boat in place of Riggs.
“Despite having to make some lineup changes, I thought the varsity eight raced pretty well, and a win over both Texas and Central Florida is big for our program,” Sacramento State head coach Mike Connors said.
By virtue of winning Group A’s varsity eight and varsity four finals, Cal was crowned champions of the Lake Natoma Invitational, finishing ahead of second-place Stanford, Wisconsin, UCLA, Minnesota, Tennessee, Sacramento State, Texas and Central Florida, respectively.
The Hornets’ novice eight was the team’s only boat to reach its respective grand final, and it finished third with a time of 7:10.93, trailing Central Florida (6:53.20) and Cal (7:00.38). Sacramento State’s novice eight reached the grand final by virtue of finishing second in its heat yesterday. The novice eight competition did not factor into the points system that determined the champion. The varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four competitions factored into the points system.
Sacramento State’s second varsity eight finished third in its Group 3 final with a time of 7:07.90, and the varsity four did likewise, finishing with a time of 8:22.21. The Hornets’ second varsity eight improved their time in each of the three races they competed in this weekend, posting a 7:17.06 yesterday morning to a 7:14.94 yesterday afternoon, and capped off by this morning’s time of 7:07.90. Hornet seniors Ruthie Van Esso (three seat) and Sherry Payne (five seat) have been injured most of the spring season until helping lead the second varsity eight today.
“Our second varsity eight continues to get better every race, and they are still improving their speed,” Connors said.
The Lake Natoma Invitational, which was co-hosted by Sacramento State and Cal, marked the most star-studded regular-season regatta the Sacramento State Aquatic Center has held in recent memory. The Aquatic Center serves host to the Pacific-10 Conference Championships every year while also hosting the NCAA Championships five times since 1997, but has not hosted a regular-season regatta of this magnitude with this many ranked crews.
Results and final team points can be found by clicking on the link above the story.
Sacramento State returns to the water next week for another big regatta. This time, the team will host Causeway rival UC Davis on Saturday, April 25, at 8 a.m. The race has major implications on the Causeway Cup, the annual all-sports challenge between the two schools. In fact, with a victory next Saturday in the varsity eight competition, the Hornets’ rowing program could clinch the Causeway Cup championship for Sacramento State. The race between the two schools is worth five points, and Sacramento State currently holds a 51.67-43.33 lead in the Cup standings. The first school to amass at least 55.0 points is the winner. This marks the fifth year the two schools have competed for the Cup with each program winning the championship twice. For Causeway Cup standings, click here.
SACRAMENTO STATE’S LINEUPS
cox - Erin DeGoede, stroke - Holly Hopkins, 7 - Heather Hopkins, 6 - Anne Morrison, 5 - Kellie Cook, 4 - Alicia Tarkenton, 3 - McMullen, 2 - Elizabeth Danielson, bow - Tori Jackson
SECOND VARSITY EIGHT
cox - Teresa Seich, stroke - Dani Thole, 7 - Sandra Miller, 6 - Madeleine Folco, 5 - Payne, 4 - Sarah Slagle, 3 - Van Esso, 2 - Angela Stassi, bow - Rebecca Woolston
cox - Brittany Ayala, stroke - Katie Whitmire, 7 - Sarah Pivonka, 6 - Emily Airoldi, 5 - Sadeeka Dosu, 4 - Caitlin Brennan, 3 - Stacy Wilson, 2 - Charlotte Dolan, bow - Arianna Auvil
cox - Ashley Edwards, stroke - Pam Kline, 3 - Barbara Jacobson, 2 - Patricia Perez, bow - Abigail Macaraig
SACRAMENTO STATE’S RESULTS
VARSITY EIGHT GROUP 3 FINAL
1. Sacramento State 6:41.80
2. Texas 6:42.37
3. Central Florida 6:45.77
NOVICE EIGHT GRAND FINAL
1. Central Florida 6:53.20
2. Cal 7:00.38
3. Sacramento State 7:10.93
VARSITY FOUR GROUP 3 FINAL
1. Central Florida 7:38.00
2. Texas 7:46.49
3. Sacramento State 8:22.21
SECOND VARSITY EIGHT GROUP 3 FINAL
1. Central Florida 6:53.50
2. Texas 7:00.97
3. Sacramento State 7:07.90