Rowing Teams Complete Successful Trip to WIRA Championships

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. -- The Willamette University rowing teams had multiple successes in the final races of the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships on Sunday, May 2 at Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. The Bearcats battled extreme crosswinds all day but came away with great results.

The women's varsity 4+ and the women's junior varsity 8+ each grabbed first place finishes in the Grand Finals. The WV4+ surged to a 15-second victory over second place University of California-Santa Barbara. WU's time was 7:35.8, while UCSB finished in 7:50.8. Willamette was equally as dominant in the WJV8+, where the Bearcats cruised to a time of 7:36.4 for nearly a 20-second margin over second place Humboldt State University at 7:56.1.

In the women's varsity 8+ Grand Final, the Bearcats finished in an impressive second place, behind only Seattle Pacific University. Willamette posted a time of 7:21.2 in the race, while SPU won in 7:17.0. WU's time was a little more than seven seconds better than the boat from the University of Puget Sound, which chose to compete in the D1/Open race instead of the D2/D3/Club race.

On Saturday, the women's lightweight 8+ finished in second place in the Grand Final with a time of 7:50.5. The Bearcats finished behind NCAA Division I opponent Stanford University, as the Cardinal earned a time of 7:04.2. Stanford entered the race ranked #2 in the nation.

On the women's side, the final boat in action for the Bearcats was the women's lightweight 4+, which placed fourth in the Grand Final. Long Beach State University captured first place in the WLW4+.

For their performances during the weekend, the Willamette women's team received the prestigious WIRA Women's Team Efficiency trophy. The Bearcats were presented with a trophy shaped like a rowing blade with a glass female rower attached on top.

The Efficiency trophy goes to the team with the greatest efficiency percentage earned. Efficiency percentage is the total number of actual points earned divided by the total possible points. This was the first time WU has ever received the Efficiency trophy.

"Every entry we put out there did well," said Head Coach Susan Parkman. "This award is difficult to acquire and really shows the strength of our team this year."

Three Willamette women were named All-WIRA First Team. Senior Hilary Andrus (Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS), Lea Griggs (So., Woodbury, MN/Math & Science Academy) and Heidi Hunt (So., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) all received First Team honors.

Grabbing All-WIRA Second Team honors were Lacey Ellingson (Sr., Shoreview, MN/Mounds View HS), Sarah Schroeder (So., Wilsonville, OR/Wilsonville HS) and Karina Hoogstede (So., Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS)).

On the men's side, two Willamette boats competed on Sunday. The men's pair of Patrick Cully (Fr., Eugene, OR/St. Mary's HS) and Colton Miller (So., Pilot Hill, CA/San Marin HS) finished in fifth place in the Grand Final.

The men also finished in fifth place in the varsity 8+ Third Final. Unlike the women's races, the men's competition did not divide races based upon division.

"We are young on the men's side, but we showed tremendous promise this weekend," said Parkman.

WIRA Championships
Lake Natoma, Sacramento, Calif.
May 2, 2010
Willamette took second in the WV8+ and was first in the WJV8+ at the WIRA Championships.

Willamette took second in the WV8+ and was first in the WJV8+ at the WIRA Championships.

Hilary Andrus was one of three Bearcats chosen for the All-WIRA First Team this season.

Hilary Andrus was one of three Bearcats chosen for the All-WIRA First Team this season.