Bearcats Take Third in Petite Qualifier, Advance to Petite Final

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

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Willamette University was in sixth place after 500 meters, but the Bearcats finished strong to take third place in the Petite Qualifier on Friday, May 29 and earn a spot in the Division III Petite Final at the 2009 NCAA Championship Regatta, hosted by Villanova University at Cooper River. Willamette and five other women's eight+ crews will compete in the Petite Final at 11:15 a.m. (EDT)/8:15 a.m. (PDT) on Saturday, May 30.

The second boat from Bates College (Maine) won the Petite Qualifier in 6:53.27. Bates had the best time over the first 500 meters at 1:39.81 and the second 500 meters at 1:41.55 to build an early lead. Ithaca College (N.Y.) took second place, as its second boat finished in 6:56.47. Willamette's third place time was 6:58.12.

Willamette trailed five boats after the first 500 meters, but the Bearcats were within 2.36 seconds of third place, which was held by the University of Puget Sound's second boat. WU had a solid second 500 meters and passed the second boat from Smith College into fifth place.

The 'Cats concluded the Petite Qualifier with the fastest splits for all seven entries over the final two 500-meter segments. Willamette rowed through the third 500 in 1:44.52, nearly one-and-a-half seconds better than the next fastest time of 1:46.08 by Ithaca. The Bearcats held fourth place entering the final 500.

WU's final 500-meter split was 1:45.24. Only Bates at 1:45.79 also finished with a split below 1:46.

Willamette passed Puget Sound, as the Loggers' took fourth in 6:58.44. Washington College (Md.) placed fifth in 7:02.17. Smith was sixth at 7:09.08 and the second boat from St. Lawrence University (N.Y.) was seventh in 7:18.59.

Washington and the second boats from Puget Sound, Smith and St. Lawrence will compete in the Third Final on Saturday. Boats in the Third Final will place 13th through 16th overall.

Willamette and the second boats from Bates and Ithaca will fill half of the entries in the Petite Final. Also moving into the Petite Final were the first boats from St. Lawrence and Smith and the second boat from Trinity College (Conn.), which finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Grand Qualifier on Friday. The Petite Final will determine seventh place through 12th place in NCAA Division III.

The top three boats from the Grand Qualifier -- the second boat from Williams College (Mass.) and the first boats from Ithaca and Puget Sound -- earned berths in the Grand Final, set for Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (EDT).

Williams won the Grand Qualifier in 6:46.27, with Ithaca in second at 6:47.34 and UPS in third at 6:57.96. Also participating in the Grand Final will be the preliminary heat winners, which were the top boats from Williams, Bates and Trinity. The winner of the Grand Final will claim the NCAA Division III title.

Each of the seven NCAA member institutions selected for team berths in the regatta have two eights entered in the competition. The two at-large selections, Willamette and Washington College (Md.), each have one entry.

NOTE: The NCAA Championship Regatta includes all three divisions of women's rowing. Although Division III will be through competing on Saturday, there will be several Division I and Division II races on Sunday. A link to Saturday's live webcast is located near the top of this release. The NCAA and host Villanova University also are providing Sunday's live webcast. Coverage of the NCAA Championships also is available at

NCAA Championship Regatta
At Cooper River, Camden, N.J.
May 29-31, 2009
NCAA Championship Regatta
NCAA Championship Regatta
Willamette advanced to the Petite Final after rallying to take third place in the Petite Qualifier.

Willamette advanced to the Petite Final after rallying to take third place in the Petite Qualifier.