UC Davis Claims Inaugural NCAA Division II Rowing Championship

UC Davis went undefeated at the NCAA Championships
 
UC Davis went undefeated at the NCAA Championships
 

June 1, 2002

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - UC Davis claimed its first NCAA team title in any sport since 1998 when the Aggies won the inaugural NCAA Division II Women's Rowing Championship at Eagle Creek Reservoir on Sunday morning.

UC Davis won the title after claiming individual event championships Sunday in both the first varsity eight and second varsity eight races against Western Washington. The first-place finish in both events secured the Aggies' team title.

"Everything was just awesome," said UC Davis Coach Emily Plesser. "The team just went after it. We really focused on our race. We're all just really fired up."

UC Davis, which advanced to Sunday's finals by going undefeated in both events during Friday's preliminaries, won each race by at least nine seconds. The second varsity eight opened the day with its victory over the Vikings, while the first varsity eight sealed it soon after.

The first varsity eight, like the Aggies' second varsity eight boat, was looking to beat Western Washington for the second time this weekend, while also looking to beat the Vikings for fourth time in five meetings this season.

Second-ranked UC Davis led top-ranked Western Washington by two seconds after the first 500 meters, by three seconds midway and then was up by a comfortable six seconds heading into the final quarter. UC Davis was timed in 7:06.64, while the Vikings crossed in 7:15.68.

Coxswain Sarah Whipple was in the winning varsity eight boat along with Analise Zoller, Brooke Forniciari, Julie Madsen, Kerry Byrne, Brooke Roberts, Sara DeLeon, Shelly Best and Sabrina Litton.

In the second varsity eight race, UC Davis led by just a second after the first 500 meters of the 2,000-meter race before opening it to nearly four seconds at the halfway point. The Aggies gradually stretched the lead over the final 1,000 meters before crossing in 7:17.98, well ahead of the Vikings who were timed in 7:27.14.

Coxswain Katie Borg was in the victorious boat along with Sara Miller, Kelly Sweerus, Alison Prehn, Marisa Obrien, Ashley Raasch, Amy Mackey, Chrissy Twomey and Dawn Leppert.

This year marked the first time the NCAA has conducted separate championships for each of Divisions I, II and III after combining all three for the first five years of the championships' existence. UC Davis was makings its fourth appearance overall at the national championships.

The NCAA Championship is the first team title for UC Davis since the men's basketball team won the Division II banner in 1998. It's also the sixth NCAA team title overall, joining men's golf, women's tennis (2), men's tennis and men's basketball.

2002 NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN'S ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Eagle Creek Reservoir (Indianapolis, Ind.), Hosted by Indiana University

FINALS
I Varsity Eights -1. UC DAVIS - 7:06.64 (Sarah Whipple, Analise Zoller, Brooke Forniciari, Julie Madsen, Kerry Byrne, Brooke Roberts, Sara DeLeon, Shelly Best, Sabrina Litton); 2. Western Washington, 7:15.68.

II Varsity Eights - 1. UC DAVIS, 7:17.98 (Katie Borg, Sara Miller, Kelly Sweerus, Alison Prehn, Marisa Obrien, Ashley Raasch, Amy Mackey, Chrissy Twomey, Dawn Leppert); 2. Western Washington, 7:27.14.