UC Davis Rows Into Grand Finals At NCAA Championships

The Aggies are looking to win the NCAA Division II Championship for a second straight year. <br> (Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
The Aggies are looking to win the NCAA Division II Championship for a second straight year.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

May 30, 2003

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - UC Davis won both its varsity eight and varsity four preliminary heats on Friday morning at Eagle Creek Reservoir as the Aggies advanced to Sunday's grand finals in both events at the NCAA Division II Women's Rowing Championships.

UC Davis raced to a time of 7 minutes, 8.82 seconds in its varsity eight dual with Humboldt State - the second of three Division II prelims in the event. The Aggies' time was the fastest of the six Division II competitors in the event. The Lumberjacks were timed in 7:19.56. UC Davis' varsity four followed later with a 16-second win against regional rival Western Washington, crossing in 7:55.74. The Vikings were timed in 8:11.78.

The wins send the Aggies into the Sunday's grand finals for each event as UC Davis looks to defend its 2002 championship. All heat winners advanced to the grand finals while remaining boats will compete in repechage heats on Saturday, looking to earn a spot in the championship races.

The Division II regatta consists of four teams - UC Davis, Western Washington, Florida Tech and Mercyhurst (Pa.) - competing in varsity eight and varsity four events. The team national champion is determined by combined finishes in both events. Additionally, Humboldt State and Rollins (Fla.) College were invited as at-large participants in the varsity eight event, but are not eligible for the overall team title.

In other preliminary races Friday, Mercyhurst (7:27.03) beat Rollins (7:29.08), and Western Washington (7:18.17) beat Florida Tech (7:38.12) in the varsity eight, while Mercyhurst (8:23.03) rowed past Florida Tech (8:40.04) in the other varsity four prelim heat.

UC Davis wasted little time in establishing control in its varsity eight race against Humboldt State, opening a nearly four-second lead after the first 500 meters of the 2,000-meter battle. The Aggies reached the midway point of the race in 3:28.30 for a seven-second lead and then held nearly a nine-second advantage heading into the final piece.



Rowing for UC Davis were Kari Harris, Ashley Montross, Becky Anderson, Kalie Benson, Brooke Fornaciari, Shelley Best, Kerry Byrne, Cassie Drotman and coxswain Katie Borg.

The Aggies had similar success against Western Washington in the fours but didn't start to pull away until the midway point of the race. UC Davis - which had Laura Syms, Sarah Anderson, Joan Silva and Dawn Leppert in its boat along with coxswain Michelle Seymour - led the Vikings by just a second after 500 meters, but turned that into a nearly a 10-second lead halfway.

The Aggies crossed the 1,500-meter marker at 5:59.79 while the Vikings came through at 6:11.56. The Aggies added five seconds to that lead down the stretch, crossing the line in 7:55.74.

Championships for NCAA Divisions I, II and III are all being held at Eagle Creek Reservoir.

Eagle Creek Reservoir (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Indiana University (host)

VARSITY EIGHT (heat 1) - 1. Mercyhurst, 7:27.03; 2. Rollins, 7:29.08. (heat 2) - 1. UC Davis, 7:08.82 (KatieBorg(Coxswain), KariHarris(8), AshleyMontross(7), BeckyAnderson(6), KalieBenson(5), BrookeFornaciari(4), ShelleyBest(3), KerryByrne(2), CassieDrotman(1)); 2. Humboldt State, 7:19.56. (heat 3) - 1. Western Washington, 7:18.17; 2. Florida Tech, 7:38.12.

VARSITY FOUR (heat 1) - 1. Mercyhurst, 8:23.03; 2. Florida Tech, 8:40.04. (heat 2) - 1. UC Davis, (Michelle Seymour(Coxswain), LauraSyms(4), SarahAnderson(3), JoanSilva(2), DawnLeppert(1)), 7:55.74; 2. Western Washington, 8:11.78.