ROWING SEEKS THIRD WIRA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP IN FOUR YEARS
GOLD RIVER, Calif. – The Sacramento State women’s varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight each received a top three 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 third WIRA team championship in the last four 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 2) will consist of 55 races (31 on the women’s side, 24 on the men’s side) beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing until approximately 6:10 p.m. Sunday’s competition (May 3), which includes the grand finals for nearly every event, consists of 25 races (15 on the women’s side, 10 on the men’s side) beginning at 8 a.m. and running until the awards ceremony at 12:45 p.m.
In 2007, 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 that year. In 2006, the Hornets were WIRA team champs after being victorious in the varsity eight competition, the most prestigious race at the regatta.
This year’s women’s varsity eight competition will begin Saturday with heats at 11 a.m. and 11:10 a.m., and Sacramento State will compete in the heat at 11:10 a.m. against UC Davis, San Diego State and Loyola Marymount. The grand final will take place on Sunday at 12:10 p.m. A total of nine schools will challenge for this year’s Div. I women’s varsity eight championship, which is considered the premier event in women’s rowing. The nine schools are comprised of No. 1 seed Gonzaga, No. 2 Sacramento State, No. 3 UC Davis, No. 4 San Diego, No. 5 Saint Mary’s, No. 6 San Diego State, No. 7 Loyola Marymount, No. 8 Santa Clara and No. 9 UC Irvine.
Over the last nine years in varsity eight action, the Hornets’ top boat has finished sixth last season, fourth in 2007, 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 10-4 dual-meet record, including victories over Texas, Central Florida and UC Davis over the last two weeks.
In last year’s varsity eight grand final, Gonzaga won its second straight title with a time of 6:57.6, followed by Western Washington, UC Davis, San Diego State, San Diego and Sacramento State, respectively. 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. 3 seed, and has medaled in its grand final six times in the last seven years, including a bronze last season. Sacramento State’s novice eight also earned the No. 3 seed in its heat, hoping to improve upon its fifth place showing each of the last two years.
Women’s grand final times (that Sacramento State could be competing) on Sunday include the varsity four (8:10 a.m.), novice four (8:40 a.m.), second novice eight (9:20 a.m.), novice eight (10 a.m.), second varsity eight (10:50 a.m.) and varsity eight (12:10 p.m.).