Bearcats Show Solid Improvement Despite Challenging Weather At NCRC Invitational Regatta

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Despite rough weather and challenging race conditions, the Willamette University rowing team performed exceptionally well at the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Invitational Regatta held on Saturday on Vancouver Lake in Washington.

The Bearcats Men's Lightweight 4+ placed second with a time of 8:50.81 behind Lewis & Clark College and ahead of Pacific Lutheran University. Collin Siu coxed the crew of Brian Fanning, Randall Cass, Greg Henselman, and novice rower, Joel Hungerford over tumultuous waters.

The Bearcats Men's 8+ started the regatta off, battling a head wind and placing third in their heat with a time of 8:38.35 to qualify for the Men's 8+ final. With increasing winds and unrowable water at the start, the afternoon final was shortened to 1,000 meter distance.

The Bearcats faced an additional challenge of a last minute line up change. Stroke seat Danny Croom, suffering from hypothermia following the Men's 4+ event in which the team was swamped from the choppy waters, was replaced by freshman,Joel Hungerford.

Hungerford stroked the Men's 8+ to a fifth place finish in the final with a time of 3:58.94 over 1,000 meters. Novice Joe Gruber made his debut in the Varsity Men's 8+, pulling steady in 5 seat.

In the Division III Women's 8+, the Bearcats placed fourth with a time of 9:14.23 over the 2,000 meter windy course. Last weekend, the women's 8+ was 3 seconds behind Mills College. This weekend, the Bearcats pulled nearly 45 seconds faster to beat Mills. The women are on the path of improvement, with the NCRC Championships in three weeks as their ultimate test of this season's speed.

The Bearcats novice women's squad of Anna Myers, Susannah Kelly and Becca Krow-Bonsike, coxed by Becca Raslton, joined Seattle University to form a combination Novice Women's 8+ entry.

The Novice Women's 7:55.95 time beat Humboldt State and Portland State University but just fell short of qualifying for the afternoon final.

The Women's Varsity 4+ heats were the last 2,000 meter races of the day due to increasingly strong head winds. The Bearcats placed third in their heat with a time of 10:28.48, qualifying their crew for the final. The water was too rough for fours to safely compete in a final event and was cancelled. Based on heat times, the Bearcats were fourth of twelve entries in this competitive field.

This was the same lineup as last weekend's victorious Women's Lightweight 4+, competing in the open weight category this weekend.

The Men's Varsity 4+ of coxswain Collin Siu, rowers Danny Croom, Peter Haderlein, Kevin Louis and novice Andrew Clark ran into trouble due to the worsening choppy waters and increasing winds. The shell took on so much water that the men were unable to row and were safely brought to shore, although cold and wet, with the assistance of the safety launches.

The Men's Novice 4+ squad of James Suchy, Andrew Clark, Joe Gruber and Joel Hungerford was unable to compete due to the poor weather.

The Women's Open 8+ event was shortened to 1000 meters. The Bearcats were sixth with a time of 4:14.65 in a seven boat race, including nationally top ranked DII Western Washington University who won the event. Although the water was rough and not ideal for showing the benefits of technique, the women felt strong and excited about future opportunities to race.

Coaches Susan Parkman and Conor Bullis felt encouraged by the team's overall progress and especially in their ability to handle the rough conditions of this regatta.

Next Saturday, the Bearcats travel to Eugene, Oregon for the Covered Bridge Regatta held on Dexter Lake. This will present yet one more opportunity to test the team's speed as they prepare for their ultimate event of the season, the NCRC Championships three weeks away.

NCRC Invite April 1, 2006 Vancouver Lake, Vancouver Washington
7:50am Event #2
Heat 2, top three to final
Men's 8+
Cox: Collin Siu
Stroke: Danny Croom
7 seat: Pete Haderlein
6 seat: Kevin Louis
5 seat: Briane Fanning
4 seat: Joe Gruber
3 seat: Brice Miyasaki
2 seat: Randall Cass
Bow: Greg Henselman

Final at 12:30pm
9:30am Event #11
Heat 1, top 3 to final
Women's 4+
Coxswain: Becca Ralston
Stroke: Melissa Rucker
3 seat: Lindsey Young
2 seat: Kimber Grady
Bow: Tori Gustaveson

Final at 1:10pm

12:20pm Event #23 Direct Final
Women's 8+
Coxswain: Becca Ralston
Stroke: Laura Jones
7 seat: Ashley San Blise
6 seat: Jessica Jones
5 seat: Maggie Shaneyfelt
4 seat: Jessica Fujii
3 seat: Samantha
2 seat: Melissa Rucker
Bow: Adrienne Hall

8:00am Event #3
Direct Final
DIII Women's 8+
Coxswain: Maia Hoover
Stroke: Laura Jones
7 seat: Ashley San Blise
6 seat: Jessica John
5 seat: Maggie Shaneyfelt
4 seat: Lindsey Young
3 seat: Kimber Grady
2 seat: Tori Gustaveson
Bow: Adrienne Hall

10:00am Event #14
Heat 2, top three to final
Men's 4+
Cox: Collin Siu
Stroke: Danny Croom
3 seat: Andrew Clark
2 seat: Kevin Louis
Bow: Pete Haderlein

Final at 1:40pm
8:50am Event #8
Direct Final
Men's Lightweight 4+
Coxswain: Collin Siu
Stroke: Joel Hungerford
3 seat: Brian Fanning
2 seat: Randall Cass
Bow: Greg Henselman

10:50am Event 18
Heat 1, top three to final
Women's Novice 4+
Coxswain: Becca Ralston
Stroke: Anna Myers
3 seat: Becca Krow-Boniske
2 seat: guest
Bow: Susanna Kelly

9:10am Event #9
Heat 1, top three to final
Women's Novice 8+
Seattle University with WU's
Anna Myers
Becca Krow-Boniske
Susanna Kelly

11:10am Event 20
Heat 1, top three to final
Men's Novice 4+
Coxswain: Maia Hoover
Stroke: Joel Hungerford
3 seat: Andrew Clark
2 seat: Joe Gruber
Bow: James Suchy