Willamette Rowers are Fifth in Petite Final

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

CAMDEN, N.J. -- The Willamette University women's varsity eight+ took fifth place in the Division III Petite Final at the NCAA Championship Regatta on Saturday, May 30 at Cooper River Park. As a result, the Bearcats finished 11th overall in their first appearance at the NCAA Championships.

Willamette's varsity eight+ included stroke Geneva Hooten, 7-seat Kelsey White, 6-seat Hilary Andrus, 5-seat Christina Thorburn, 4-seat Sarah Schroeder, 3-seat Morgan Iveson, 2-seat Karina Hoogstede and bow Larissa Stiglich. Erica Soma was the coxswain.

The Bearcats fell behind at the start of the Petite Final, as WU trailed the top boats by approximately four seconds after 500 meters. Willamette lost additional ground on its way to the 1,000-meter mark, but gained momentum over the final 1000 meters.

During the final 500 meters, the Bearcats registered the third-fastest time for the final quarter of the race. WU's time for the last 500 was 1:43.63, as the 'Cats trailed only the first boat from Smith College (Mass.) at 1:41.76 and the second boat from Bates College (Maine) at 1:43.26.

Smith won the Petite Final with an overall time of 6:47.12. The top boat from St. Lawrence University (N.Y.) was second at 6:51.75, while Bates was third at 6:53.73.

The second boat from Trinity College (Conn.) took fourth at 6:57.17. Willamette trailed Trinity by 6.45 seconds at the halfway mark of the race, but cut the deficit to 3.38 seconds at the finish, as the Bearcats placed fifth in 7:00.55. WU edged past the second boat from Ithaca College (N.Y.), which took sixth in 7:00.66.

In the Grand Final, the top boat from Williams College (Mass.) claimed the NCAA title in 6:28.04. The winning margin was 2.73 seconds over the first boat from Bates, which finished second at 6:30.77. The first boat from Trinity took third in 6:36.03. Rounding out the Grand Final were Ithaca's first boat in fourth at 6:39.16, the second boat from Williams in fifth at 6:42.00, and the first boat from the University of Puget Sound in sixth at 6:47.47.

Finishes in the Grand Final resulted in the top six places in the standings, while results in the Petite Final filled seventh place through 12th place. Each of the seven NCAA member institutions selected for team berths in the regatta raced two eights during the competition. The two at-large selections, Willamette and Washington College (Md.), each raced one entry.

The Third Final, which determined 13th place through 16th place in the standings, was won by the boat from Washington College in 6:59.52. The second boat from Puget Sound finished second in 7:04.81. Completing the standings in the Third Final were St. Lawrence's second boat in third place at 7:12.50 and the second boat from Smith in fourth place at 7:14.55.

Williams won its fourth consecutive NCAA team championship with 24 points from its first and fifth place finishes in the boat standings. Bates was second in the team standings with 19 points, while Trinity placed third with 17 points. Ithaca took fourth place with 15 points and Puget Sound was fifth with 12 points. Smith and St. Lawrence tied for sixth place with nine points apiece. As at-large entries, Willamette and Washington College were not included in the team standings.

NOTE: The NCAA Championship Regatta includes all three divisions of women's rowing. Although Division III is through competing, 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 row2k.com.

NCAA Championship Regatta
At Cooper River, Camden, N.J.
May 29-31, 2009
NCAA Championship Regatta
Kelsey White (7-seat at left), Hillary Andrus (6-seat) and Christina Thorburn (5-seat) helped Willamette take 11th place in NCAA Division III.

Kelsey White (7-seat at left), Hillary Andrus (6-seat) and Christina Thorburn (5-seat) helped Willamette take 11th place in NCAA Division III.