Vikings finish runner-up with 14 team points, WWU fours win national title with dominating performance. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
WWU Rowing | Vikings Finish as National Runner-Up at NCAA Rowing Championships
May 26, 2018
SARASOTA, Fla. – Led by a dominating performance by the gold-medal winning fours, the Western Washington University women’s rowing team finished in 2nd place in the team standings of the 2018 NCAA Division II Rowing Championships that concluded Saturday at Nathan Benderson Park.
WWU finished 2nd with 14 team points to win the team silver medal, marking the 12th time in the 17 years the NCAA Division II team title has been awarded that the Vikings have taken home the gold (8 times) or silver (4 times) medal. Central Oklahoma won its first national championship with 18 team points after finishing runner-up for the team title in 2016 and 2017.
“We are very proud of this team. They worked very hard to get here and finishing national runner-up is a huge accomplishment given the adversity they faced for the last 8 months,” said 20th-year head coach John Fuchs. “Certainly we would have loved to have the team title but Central Oklahoma clearly had the better performance. Hats off to them for sure.”
2018 NCAA Division II Rowing Team Scores
1. Central Oklahoma – 18 Points
2. Western Washington – 14 Points
3. Florida Tech – 13 Points
4. Mercyhurst – 5 Points
The Vikings were fueled by the gold-medal winning fours, who put together a dominating performance leading wire-to-wire in the Grand Final. Western completed the 2,000-meter course in 7:39.746 for a boat-length victory over Central Oklahoma (7:43.283). The Vikings had a very fast start and maintained the lead through the course holding off any comeback attempts by the Bronchos. Florida Tech rounded out the top 3 finishing in 7:47.006.
“The four had a great season. Solid and steady day in and day out,” added Fuchs. “Always fun to win an event like that.”
PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Division II – Fours
1. Western Washington – 7:39.746 (8 points)
2. Central Oklahoma – 7:43.283 (6 points)
3. Florida Tech – 7:47.006 (4 points)
The eights finished just off the podium in a fast-pace Grand Final, gathering 6 team points with a 4th-place finish (3rd among scoring teams). The Vikings, UC San Diego and Florida Tech were locked in a battle for 2nd, 3rd and 4th place throughout the race after Central Oklahoma broke away early. The three teams were neck-in-neck over the final 500 meters with UCSD sprinting for the 2nd-place finish, Florida Tech in 3rd and WWU less than a tenth-of-a-second back in 4th place.
“The eight also worked it to the last stroke of the season,” said Fuchs. “It was just a matter of inches for them to finish 3rd or even 2nd.”
Division II – Eights
1. Central Oklahoma – 6:45.898 (12 points)
2. UC San Diego – 6:51.352
3. Florida Tech – 6:51.708 (9 points)
4. Western Washington – 6:51.795 (6 points)
1. Mercyhurst – 7:05.902 (3 points)
2. Barry – 7:13.136
“Our main goal this year was to have fun and learn,” added Fuchs. “I believe we did just that in true WWU fashion.”
WWU advanced directly to the Grand Final in both the Fours and Eights by winning their heats on the first day of the national championships regatta on Friday.
WWU raced in the NCAA Rowing Championships for the 17th time in the last 18 seasons and is an 8-time champion in the event. The Vikings won seven consecutive championships from 2005-2011, including the 2017 NCAA II Championship.