Bearcat Crew Continues Impressive Improvements; Women's Varsity 8+ Sprint to Gold Medal Finish and Men's Varsity Eight Bring Home Silver

EUGENE, Ore. (April 8) - The women's 8+ took first place and the entire Willamette University crew team continued to show great improvement at the Covered Bridge Regatta on Dexter Lake this weekend.
The men's varsity 8+ brought home a silver medal, as did the women's varsity 4+.

The Bearcats women's 8+ was in third place as they approached the 1250 meter mark, but pulled even over the final 500. In the tightest sprint of the day, stroke Laura Jones brought the rating up for the final sprint, capturing the gold by 2 seats over SPU and HSU. Just two weeks ago, the Bearcats trailed behind both Seattle Pacific and Humboldt State by nearly 30 seconds. Saturday, they led by nearly 2 seconds in a time that's similar to other Division III schools all around the country.

The Bearcats won the event, finishing the 2000 meter course in 7:20.42. HSU was close behind in a time of 7:22.37 and SPU following in a time of 7:24.61.

"Our objective was to narrow our margin with opponents we had faced earlier in the season", Coach Susan Parkman said. After changing the rig from starboard stroke to port stroke, and shaking up the line up, results reflected the continued improvement of the Bearcats mid way through the 2006 spring season.

Anna Myers, in her first varsity race, filled three seat in the Bearcats eight. Myers was joined by coxswain Becca Ralston, stroke Laura Jones, 7 seat Jessica John, 6 seat Maggie Shaneyfelt, 5 seat Melissa Rucker, 4 seat Adrienne Hall, 2 seat Ashley San Blise, and Bow Tori Gustaveson

Varsity Men's Coxswain, Collin Siu, held the lead for the first half of the men's varsity 8+. It was neck to neck at the 1250, but the Bearcats just could not hold off the charging Humboldt State Lumber Jacks.

The silver medal finish was a victory for the Bearcats; as they cut over 30 seconds off their time from two weeks previous. Mark Rogers return to the line up was welcomed following three weeks away to recover from knee surgery.

The Bearcats Women's Varsity 4+ shaved nearly 40 seconds off their margin from two weeks ago, to earn silver behind University of Portland and just ahead of Humboldt State.

Despite facing the same hour delay and having to row in borrowed equipment due to a broken rigger, the Men's Varsity 4+ had a good start and a strong first 1000 meters. Stroke seat Danny Croom thought the start was quick and the boat felt good. At the 1500 meter mark, the Bearcats' sprint wasn't enough to hold off the competition.

The Bearcats Novice Women's 4+ were all smiles following their 3rd place finish in their early morning race as they all donned their bronze medals. Ali Perez made her debut in stroke seat, supported with the strength of Becca Krom-Boniske, Shannon Gima, Susannah Kelly and encouraged by coxswain Dani Stevens. Despite a recent change in line up, Gima thought the balance had improved and Krom-Boniske described the increasing strength she felt in the race. The girls were encouraged by their results as their time margin decreased substantially from their last regatta.

The Men's Novice 4+ faced an unfortunate equipment issue as the carbon fiber rigger developed a stress fracture under the pull of stroke Andrew Clark's strength. After consulting with the officials and with their coach via radio, they decided to race despite the distraction and risk of further damage. Following a quick start, the men fought hard down the course in a competitive field.

The Bearcat Crew has next weekend off, and two weeks to prepare for the NW Collegiate Rowing Conference Championships on Lake Stevens in Washington, April 22.

Men's Collegiate Novice 4+

Coxswain: Dani Stevens
Stroke: Andrew Clark
3 Seat: James Suchy
2 Seat: Joe Gruber
Bow: Ning Leung

Women's Collegiate Varsity 4+
Silver Medal

Coxswain: Becca Ralston
Stroke: Laura Jones
3 Seat: Jessica John
2 Seat: Kimber Grady
Bow: Lindsey Young

Women's Collegiate 8+
Gold Medal

Coxswain: Becca Ralston
Stroke: Laura Jones
7 seat: Jessica John
6 seat: Maggie Shaneyfelt
5 seat: Melissa Rucker
4 seat: Adrienne Hall
3 seat: Anna Myers
2 seat: Ashley San Blise
Bow: Tori Gustaveson

Women's Collegiate Novice 4+
Bronze Medal

Coxswain: Dani Stevens
Stroke: Ali Perez
3 Seat: Becca Krow-Boniske
2 Seat: Shannon Gima
Bow: Susannah Kelly

Men's Collegiate Varsity 4+

Coxswain: Collin Siu
Stroke: Danny Croom
3 Seat: Brian Fanning
2 Seat: Joel Hungerford
Bow: Pete Haderlein

Men's Collegiate 8+
Silver Medal

Coxswain: Collin Siu
Stroke: Danny Croom
7 seat: Brian Fanning
6 seat: Kevin Louis
5 seat: Andrew Clark
4 seat: Mark Rogers
3 seat: Brice Miyasaki
2 seat: Joel Hungerford
Bow: Greg Henselman