Willamette Women's Rowing Starts NCAA Championships on Friday, May 29

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's varsity eight+ will begin competing in the NCAA Championship Regatta on Friday, May 29 at Cooper River in Camden, N.J. The Bearcats will open the regatta in NCAA Division III Heat #2 at 8:15 a.m. (EDT)/5:15 a.m. (PDT). Action will continue later on Friday, as well as on Saturday, May 30. A total of 16 shells are vying for this year's NCAA Championship.

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

It will be Willamette's first time competing at the NCAA Championship Regatta. The Bearcats have no seniors on this year's squad.

Willamette is one of three varsity eights placed in Heat #2, which also includes two second varsity eights. The other top varsity boats are from Bates College (Maine) and from WU's Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference (NCRC) rivals at the University of Puget Sound. Second varsity eights in the heat are from Trinity College (Conn.) and from Bates.

Heat #1 in the Division III races will get the opening day started at 8 a.m. (EDT)/5 a.m. (PDT). The heat will feature the varsity eights from St. Lawrence University (N.Y.), Williams College (Mass.) and Smith College (Mass.), plus the second varsity eights from Puget Sound and Ithaca College (N.Y.).

Heat #3 will complete the first round. It will include varsity eights from Washington, Ithaca and Trinity, along with second varsity eights from St. Lawrence, Williams and Smith.

The winner of each preliminary heat will advance into Saturday's Grand Final to compete for the NCAA title. The second and third place finishers in each heat will race in the Grand Qualifier at 2:45 p.m. (EDT) on Friday. Entries finishing fourth, fifth or sixth in each preliminary heat will move into the Petite Qualifier at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) on Friday.

The top three boats in the Grand Qualifier will receive berths into the Grand Final, where they will join the winners of the preliminary heats to battle for the top six places overall. The Grand Final is slated for 11:30 a.m. (EDT) on Saturday.

Boats placing fourth through sixth in the Grand Qualifier will progress into the Petite Final at 11:15 a.m. (EDT) on Saturday. The top three boats in the Petite Qualifier also will advance into the Petite Final, which will determine seventh place through 12th place. The last four finishers in the Petite Qualifier will go into the Third Final on Saturday at 11 a.m. (EDT) to decide 13th place through 16th place.

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 row2k.com.

LIVE SCHEDULE AND RESULTS
NCAA Championship Regatta
At Cooper River, Camden, N.J.
May 29-31, 2009
LIVE MOBILE MINISITE
SCHEDULE AND RESULTS
NCAA Championship Regatta
LIVE VIDEO & AUDIO WEBCAST
SATURDAY ONLY
NCAA Championship Regatta
Willamette team captain Erica Soma is the coxswain of the WU women's varsity eight+, which will open NCAA action on Friday.

Willamette team captain Erica Soma is the coxswain of the WU women's varsity eight+, which will open NCAA action on Friday.

Willamette is competing at the NCAA Championships with Head Coach Susan Parkman (back row, far right) and the WV8+ crew, including coxswain and two alternates.

Willamette is competing at the NCAA Championships with Head Coach Susan Parkman (back row, far right) and the WV8+ crew, including coxswain and two alternates.