Willamette Women's Varsity 8s win NCAA Division III West Coast qualifier

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. — Willamette’s Women’s Varsity 8 and Women’s Second Varsity 8 won both of its races Friday morning during an NCAA Division III West Coast qualifying event on Lake Natoma.

The results mean Willamette’s two boats will now be considered for an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III
Championships, to be held May 31-June 2 in Indianapolis, Ind. The Bearcat program has never sent a crew to a national championship event.

The NCAA changed the qualifying structure this year for the national championships. School’s now are required to have two Varsity 8 boats compete.

In Friday’s races, Willamette won the Women’s Second Varsity 8 with a 2,000-meter time of 7:31.9. Following behind the Bearcats were Puget Sound (7:35.0), Pacific Lutheran (7:43.6) and Chapman (7:53.5).

In the Women’s Varsity 8 race, Willamette won with a time of 7:07.2. The Bearcats were followed by PLU (7:09.8), Puget Sound (7:15.8) and Chapman (7:51.3).

Willamette dropped out of the national Top 20 poll this past week, while PLU moved up to No. 13 and UPS moved into a tie for 20th.

Willamette’s rowing contingent will remain in California for Saturday and Sunday’s Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships, also to be held at Lake Natoma. Sacramento State is the WIRA host.