Willamette Rowers Reach Grand Final in Women's Varsity 4+ and Women's Novice 4+

WIRA Championship Regatta will Continue on Sunday

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. -- Willamette University advanced its women's varsity 4+ and women's novice 4+ into the Grand Finals with strong showings in the preliminary heats during action on the first day of the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship Regatta on Saturday, April 28 at Lake Natoma. The Grand Finals will be held on Sunday.

Willamette's WV4+ finished second in its preliminary heat in the D2/D3/Club event. Humboldt State University won the heat in 7:56.0. The Bearcats followed less than three seconds later in 7.58.8, while Western Washington University was third in 8:08.9 and the University of California-San Diego placed fourth at 8:24.9. The University of California-Santa Barbara was fifth with a time of 8:25.3.

The other heat of the WV4+ was won by the University of California-Irvine at 8:05.7. Seattle University was second at 8:20.4 and Orange Coast College was third in the six-boat heat at 8:23.0.

Boats advancing to the Grand Final were Humboldt State, Willamette, Western Washington, UC-Irvine, Seattle and Orange Coast.

The Bearcats also took second in their preliminary heat of the WN4+. University of San Diego finished first in 7:49.2 and Willamette completed the race in 7:57.2. Sacramento State was third in 8:26.9 and Humboldt State was fourth in 8:29.1. Overall, seven boats competed in the heat.

An additional seven boats participated in the other WN4+ heat. Western Washington prevailed with a time of 8:01.5. St. Mary's College took second in the heat at 8:11.5, while the University of Puget Sound was third at 8.31.7. San Diego State placed fourth in 8:40.3.

Qualifying for the Grand Final were the University of San Diego, Willamette and Sacramento State from one heat and Western Washington, St. Mary's and Puget Sound from the other heat.

Willamette narrowly missed advancing to the Grand Final in the men's novice 4+ after crossing the finish line fourth in the prelims at 7:17.1. Western Washington, which won the heat in 7:10.4, as well as the University of California-Davis in second place at 7:12.0 and Loyola Marymount University in third place at 7:15.9 all advanced to the Grand Final.

Orange Coast College, the winner of the second heat in 6:55.6, reached the MN4+ Grand Final, along with to other boats from the second heat. They were second place finisher Seattle Pacific University (7:00.5) and third place finisher St. Mary's (7:11.6).

Although missing the Grand Final by just 1.2 seconds, Willamette's MN4+ recovered to win the Petite Final with a solid time of 7:08.0. The Bearcats rowed well, finishing 7.6 seconds in front of the Petite runner-up, University of California-Santa Barbara, which completed the race in 7:15.6.

Seattle was third in the MN4+ Petite Final at 7:29.3 and the University of California-Los Angeles was fourth at 7:32.7. A total of seven boats competed in the Petite Final.

The Grand Finals involving Willamette crews on Sunday will be two of the first three races. The women's varsity 4+ for Division II, Division III and club teams will get the day underway at 8 a.m. (PDT). Willamette's second event, the women's novice 4+ is set to begin two races later at 8:20 a.m.

WIRA Championship Regatta
Willamette advanced the WV4+ and the WN4+ into the Grand Finals in two of the early races on Saturday.

Willamette advanced the WV4+ and the WN4+ into the Grand Finals in two of the early races on Saturday.