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The WWU Varsity Four captured second place in its race Sunday at the NCAA Rowing Championships. PHOTO: Doug Lange

Vikings Place Third at NCAA II Rowing Championships

June 2, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – The Western Washington University women’s rowing team placed third at the 2019 NCAA Division II Rowing Championships, concluding the three-day event on Sunday at the Indianapolis Rowing Center at Eagle Creek Park.

 

The Vikings were led by a runner-up finish by the Varsity Four to earn 10 team points, while the Varsity Eight stormed back in the final 500 meters to place third in the Grand Final to earn 12 points. WWU finished with 22 total points, one back of national runner-up Florida Tech (23 points). Central Oklahoma won both races on Sunday to record a perfect team score of 30 points.

 

“I am extremely proud of this group for how they competed all season to make nationals, and then how they rowed their hearts out here at the championships,” said 21st-year head coach John Fuchs. “The four had a great race and put us in good position to start, but it just wasn’t the eight’s day. Even though we fell short of the podium, it was a great team performance and I could not be prouder of how they competed and represented our university.”

 

The four set the tone in the first race of the day for the Vikings, mounting a strong comeback in the second half of the race to earn runner-up honors. Splits showed the Vikings in 3rd place after the first 1,000m, a few seats back of Florida Tech. WWU closed the gap trailing FIT by a narrow margin at the 1500m mark, and then the Vikings powered through to the finish to overcome the Panthers for the second-place finish. WWU covered the 2,000m course in 7:31.086, tailing winner Central Oklahoma (7:27.026) and ahead of Florida Tech (7:32.884).

 

Needing to win the Grand Final in the eight for the national championship, the Vikings were forced to race from behind from the start. Florida Tech and Central Oklahoma traded the lead in the first 1,000m, before the Bronchos pulled away to win their second consecutive national title. WWU was in fourth place after the first 1,000m, but used one of the program’s trademark strong finishes to overcome Seattle Pacific by a bow-ball at the finish line to secure 12 team points with the third-place finish. WWU’s time on the 2,000m course was 6:43.504, edging SPU by a thin margin (6:43.651). UCO raced to an open-water victory in 6:33.011 with Florida Tech finishing 2nd (6:37.088) to secure the national runner-up finish.

 

 

This marks the fifth third-place finish for the Vikings in program history at the NCAA II Rowing Championships, also earning the bronze medal in 2016 (Lake Natoma, CA), 2013-14 (Indianapolis) and 2004 (Lake Natoma, CA). In 18 years of the NCAA Division II Rowing Championships, WWU has made 17 appearances with eight national titles, four silver medals and five bronze medals, never finishing below third place.

 

The 2020 NCAA Rowing Championships is scheduled to be held May 29-31 on Melton Lake in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, with the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge Rowing Association (ORRA) serving as event hosts.

 

2019 NCAA DII ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS STANDINGS

The Vikings placed third in the 2019 NCAA Division II Rowing Championships with 22 points, gathering 10 points with the second-place finish in the four and 12 points with the third-place finish in the eight. Florida Tech edged WWU by one point for the runner-up trophy with 23 points and Central Oklahoma won its second consecutive national title with a perfect 30 points.

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posted by Doug Lange Bellingham

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