UC Davis Returns To Lake Natoma For WIRA

The UC Davis varsity eight will open its WIRA racing at 11:10 a.m. on Saturday at Lake Natoma. <br> (Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
The UC Davis varsity eight will open its WIRA racing at 11:10 a.m. on Saturday at Lake Natoma.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

May 1, 2009

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GOLD RIVER, Calif. -- UC Davis returns to Lake Natoma for the second consecutive weekend when it participates in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, looking to defend the team title it won at last year's regatta.

The Aggies, who won five medals at the meet last season including a gold from its novice four crew, will have five boats in action during Saturday's preliminary races. Thirty-one schools are entered in the WIRA Championships with 31 women's races scheduled for Saturday and 15 more on Sunday. The competition serves as UC Davis' conference championship.

The varsity eight, which finished third in last year's grand final, is seeded third this season and will race at 11:10 on Saturday morning out of lane 2. They will face Sacramento State for the second race in a row - the team's also battled closely at last weekend's Jean Runyon Cup at Lake Natoma - and will be joined by San Diego State and Loyola Marymount.

The second varsity eight is seeded sixth and will open its racing at 10:30 in the second of two preliminary heats in its division. The Aggies' novice eight, which had a close race against the Hornets' second varsity eight last Saturday, is seeded second and will be in lane 1 at 2:20 p.m. while the second novice eight is top-seeded in its class and will also be in lane 1 for its heat at 12:50.

UC Davis will also enter a varsity four crew which will race at 8:50 a.m. The fours races were not seeded.

The Aggies' five finishes last year, which also included two silver and two bronze medals, helped them earn the overall WIRA team title, believed to be the program's first since beginning varsity competition in 1997. Second-place finishes were turned in by the second varsity eight and second novice eight boats while the varsity eight and novice eight crews were third.

In all, UC Davis had six boats in grand finals.

The Aggies took on Sacramento State last weekend in their annual Causeway Classic showdown for their most recent racing. UC Davis turned in a season-best time of 6 minutes, 48.2 seconds in its close varsity eight matchup with the Hornets, but Sacramento State was able to win by just over a second and reclaim the Jean Runyon Cup for the first time since 2006. The Aggies picked up their lone win in the second novice eight race.