UC Davis won its second straight NCAA Championship on Sunday morning.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
The Aggies, who won the inaugural Division II rowing title last season - also at Eagle Creek Reservoir - earned the maximum 20 team points at this year's championship. UC Davis posted a winning time of 7 minutes, 47.03 seconds in the varsity four race and followed later with a time of 6:51.74 in the title-clinching varsity eight.
Western Washington finished second in both races as well as for the team championship, scoring 15 points. Mercyhurst (Pa.) was third in the team standings with 10 points and Florida Tech finished fourth with five.
"This is a great way to finish (Division II)," said UC Davis coach Emily Plesser. "If you have to go out, this is the way to do it."
The Division II championship consisted of the four teams competing in both varsity eight and four events, with the overall team title based upon combined finishes in the two events. Additionally, Humboldt State and Rollins (Fla.) College competed in the varsity eight event but were ineligible for the overall team title.
UC Davis opened Sunday with a 12-second win over Western Washington in the varsity four grand final, earning eight points toward the team title, then secured the championship with 12 more points after winning the varsity eight grand final by nearly five seconds.
UC Davis, which won both of its preliminary heats on Friday to earn spots in Sunday's grand finals, led Western Washington by less than a second after 500 meters of their 2,000-meter varsity four race.
The Aggies, however, were nearly four seconds faster over the next 500 meters and led by almost six seconds midway after posting a time of 3:45.85. UC Davis added about three seconds in each of its last two quarters of racing, winning the race in 7:47.03. Western Washington finished in 7:59.42, while Mercyhurst was third in 8:11.83.
A varsity eight victory by Western Washington - which did beat UC Davis earlier this season before the Aggies returned the favor later - would've given the overall team title to the Vikings. However, UC Davis stretched a lead that was less than a second after 500 meters to three seconds midway, and then nearly six seconds heading into the final piece.
The Vikings closed slightly over the final 500 meters, finishing in 6:56.60, behind the Aggies' winning time of 6:51.74. Humboldt State was third in 7:00.58, while Mercyhurst was fourth in 7:11.03.
"There's some rivalry there," said Plesser about Western Washington. "They've whipped us a couple of times the past couple of years and we've been able to come back and get them." Rowing for UC Davis in its winning varsity eight were Kari Harris, Ashley Montross, Becky Anderson, Kalie Benson, Brooke Fornaciari, Shelley Best, Kerry Byrne, Cassie Drotman and coxswain Katie Borg.
The national championships in both the varsity eight and four events give the Aggies four event titles in the past two years after winning both the first varsity eight and second varsity eight races at last year's regatta. The format of the championship changed this season with the elimination of the second varsity eight event and the addition of the varsity four.
After racing on Sunday, the Aggie team visited the NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis, getting the opportunity to see its 2002 championship banner.
"That was one of the highlights of our trip and to know (we'd) be up there another year was also great," said Plesser.
This year marked the second year of the NCAA Division II Women's Rowing Championship. Until last season, the NCAA conducted just one championship covering all three divisions. UC Davis advanced to the national championships as an at-large participant in the varsity eight in 1997, 1999 and 2000 with its best finish coming in 2000 when it finished 16th overall but as the top non-Division I boat.
The Aggies' participation this weekend marks the final NCAA Division II Championship for UC Davis Athletics. The university announced in March it will begin reclassification to Division I beginning this fall.
UC Davis is leaving Division II in tremendous fashion after winning NCAA Championships the past two weeks in softball and rowing, finishing fourth nationally in men's track and field, and tying for fifth in baseball. Additionally, golf placed ninth, women's track was 15th and both men's and women's tennis qualified for NCAA Championship competition.
The Aggies conclude Division II having won eight NCAA Championships, including three in the past two seasons.
W. Rowing | 05/02/2010UC Davis Captures Three Medals At WIRA Champion...
The UC Davis varsity four won a silver medal with its second-place finish in its grand final and the second varsity eight and second novice eight each earned bronze medals, as the Aggie women's rowing team finished third overall among NCAA Div. I teams at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Associ... MORE
W. Rowing | 05/01/2010UC Davis Rows Into WIRA Grand Finals
Both the UC Davis women's varsity eight and novice eight crews finished second in preliminary heats on Saturday morning, advancing to grand finals on Sunday at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships at Lake Natoma. MORE
W. Rowing | 04/30/2010UC Davis Looks For Gold At WIRA Championships
UC Davis, which captured the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association women's team title in 2008, returns to Lake Natoma this weekend looking to capture gold medals and make a run at another championship. MORE
W. Rowing | 04/18/2010Varsity Eight Posts Comeback Win At NorCal/SoCal
UC Davis' varsity eight posted its sixth win of the season, and its second comeback in as many weeks, as the Aggies edged San Diego State on Sunday morning at the Port of Sacramento, highlighting the women's rowing team's action on the second day of the NorCal/SoCal Challenge. MORE
W. Rowing | 04/17/2010UC Davis Sweeps Races At NorCal/SoCal Challenge
Led by a pair of wins from the varsity eight - including one in a near season-best time - the UC Davis women's rowing team won each of its races on Saturday during the first day of competition of the NorCal/SoCal Challenge at the Port of Sacramento. MORE
W. Rowing | 04/16/2010UC Davis To Host NorCal/SoCal Callenge
The UC Davis women's team, coming off races with rival Sacramento State last weekend, will return to action on Saturday when the Aggies host the NorCal/SoCal Challenge at the Port of Sacramento. Racing begins at 8:45 a.m MORE
W. Rowing | 04/10/2010UC Davis Reclaims Jean Runyon Cup Over Hornets
The UC Davis varsity eight made up a boat-length's deficit down the stretch against rival Sacramento State, reclaiming the Jean Runyon Cup and helping highlight the rowing team's Causeway Classic showdown with the Hornets at the Port of Sacramento. MORE
W. Rowing | 04/09/2010UC Davis To Host Hornets For Jean Runyon Cup
Rivalry takes center for the UC Davis women's rowing team this weekend when the Aggies host Sacramento State in a Causeway Classic dual which featuring the annual Jean Runyon Cup showdown between the varsity eight programs. MORE
W. Rowing | 03/28/2010Aggies Win Varsity Eight Petite Final At Crew C...
The UC Davis women's rowing team varsity eight - narrowly edged Saturday for a spot in the Jessop-Whittier Cup grand final - came back on Sunday morning to win the event's petite final at the San Diego Crew Classic at Mission Bay Park. MORE