Willamette Rowers Achieve National Rankings

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- A successful season by Willamette University in women's rowing has led to national rankings for the Bearcats in the women's varsity eight and the lightweight women's eight. Willamette also finished in sixth place in the women's team standings at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships, while both teams earned All-Academic Team status in the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference (NCRC).

The WU women's varsity eight is ranked 16th in NCAA Division III according to points received in this week's Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA)/U.S. Rowing Poll. Trinity College (Conn.) was ranked #1 in the nation. The poll was released on Wednesday, May 7.

Willamette was the first team listed among others receiving votes in the Top 15 Poll. Each team's point total was included, making it easy to determine that Willamette was ranked 16th.

WU was one of two teams from the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference to earn a ranking this week. The University of Puget Sound was tied for fourth. NCRC rivals Pacific Lutheran University and Lewis & Clark College were not ranked.

Trinity led the poll with all eight first place votes and 160 points. Williams College (Mass.) was second with 152 points. Bates College (Maine) was third with 142 points, while Ithaca College (N.Y.) and Puget Sound shared fourth place with 124 points.

Willamette will find out on Tuesday, May 13 if the women's varsity eight receives an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III National Championship. WU and several teams from the East Coast are likely to be considered for the at-large berths needed to complete the championship field.

In the cMax rankings released on Monday, May 5, Willamette was ranked ninth in NCAA Division III for the women's varsity eight. The WV8+ also was ranked 93rd among all collegiate teams regardless of division. Puget Sound topped the cMax rankings for Division III, while the University of California at Berkeley led the overall rankings.

The women's lightweight eight from Willamette was ranked 18th in the nation in the U.S Rowing Poll for all three NCAA divisions. Princeton University held the top spot and received all nine first place votes.

At the WIRA Championships, the Willamette women's rowers gained enough points to finish as the top NCAA Division III team at the two-day event, while taking sixth place overall. The University of California at Davis took first place, with Gonzaga University in second and California State University-Sacramento in third. After Willamette, the next highest finish for an NCAA Division III team was eighth by Puget Sound.

Willamette's rowers have excelled both on the water and in the classroom, allowing the men's and women's teams to gain All-Academic status in the NCRC. In addition to Willamette, conference members are Humboldt State University, Lewis & Clark, Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran, Seattle Pacific University and Western Washington University.

Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/U.S. Rowing Poll
NCAA Division III Women's Varsity Eights
May 7, 2008

Team (1st Place Votes), Points
#1 - Trinity College, Conn. (8), 160
#2 - Williams College, Mass., 152
#3 - Bates College, Maine 142
#4 - (tie) Ithaca College, N.Y., 124
#4 - (tie) University of Puget Sound, Wash., 124
#6 - St. Lawrence University, N.Y., 114
#7 - U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 109
#8 - Tufts University, Mass., 100
#9 - William Smith College, N.Y., 94
#10 - Wesleyan College, Ga., 88
#11 - Mount Holyoke College, Mass., 78
#12 - Washington College, Md., 69
#13 - Smith College, Mass., 64
#14 - Wellesley College, Mass., 42
#15 - Simmons College, Mass., 40

Others receiving votes: Willamette University, Ore., 27; Skidmore College, N.Y., 15; University of Mary Washington, Va., 9; Colby College, Maine, 6; Hamilton College, N.Y., 3.

The Willamette women's varsity eight is ranked 16th and is being considered for an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.

The Willamette women's varsity eight is ranked 16th and is being considered for an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.