Willamette Women's Varsity Eight Wins NCRC Invite

Bearcats also Finish First in Division III W2V8+

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

VANCOUVER, WASH. -- The Willamette University men's and women's rowing teams put together strong showings at the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference (NCRC) Invitational held on Saturday, April 2 at Vancouver Lake. Heading the list of accomplishments was a victory for Willamette in the women's open varsity eight+.

The open WV8+ featured Willamette and some of the Bearcats' top rivals in the Pacific Northwest. Willamette crossed the finish line first in 7:42.50 for the 2,000-meter course. The Bearcats won by 2.96 seconds over their arch rival in NCAA Division III, the University of Puget Sound. UPS took second place in 7:45.46. Humboldt State University, which competes in NCAA Division II, was third in 7:48.85.

Completing the open WV8+ were Lewis & Clark College in fourth place and the University of Oregon Club in fifth place. L&C finished in 7:54.63, while the U of O Club completed the course in 8:20.09.

"The women's varsity 8 race at the end of the regatta was thrilling to watch," WU Head Coach Susan Parkman said. "The women's eight pushed so hard to stay ahead of their competitors. From the shore, you could sense their determination and energy. It was the first time they beat UPS in the spring season since I have been here as coach (5th year). This is an exciting spring season with fast crews in our region."

Three of the crews rowing in the open WV8+ were nationally ranked. Puget Sound is #7 and Willamette is #14 in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA)/US Rowing Coaches Poll for NCAA Division III. Humboldt State is listed at #7 in the CRCA/US Rowing Poll for NCAA Division II.

Rowing for the Bearcats in the winning varsity eight were coxswain Kara Hafkey (Sr., Tempe, AZ/Glencoe HS), stroke Larissa Stiglich (Jr., Vancouver, WA/U. of Washington), 7-seat Jessie Lovell (So., Edina, MN/Southern Methodist Univ.), 6-seat Kate Pfeiffer (So., Redding, CA/University Prep School), 5-seat Lea Griggs (Jr., Woodbury, MN/Math and Science Acad.), 4-seat Christina Thorburn (Sr., Boulder, CO/Niwot HS), 3-seat Jenna Chiono (So., Summer Lake, OR/Paisley HS), 2-seat Karina Hoogstede (Jr., Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) and bow Sarah Ferrier (Jr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS).

Willamette also achieved a first place finish in the NCAA Division III women's second varsity eight+. The Bearcats earned second place in the women's open second varsity eight+ and the men's varsity 8+.

In the Division III W2V8+, Willamette rowed across the finish line in 8:04.80. WU defeated Lewis & Clark by 11.41 seconds, with the Pioneers posting a time of 8:16.21. WU and L&C were the only crews competing in the event.

Guiding WU in the Division III W2V8+ was coxswain Blair Davis (So., Portland, OR/Sunset HS). Also rowing in the W2V8+ were stroke Heidi Hunt (Jr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS), 7-seat Gwen Hryciw (So., Portland, OR/Sunset HS), 6-seat Marguex Hunter (So., Ridgefield, WA/Jesuit HS), 5-seat Sophie Hearn (Fr., Berkeley, CA/Albany HS), 4-seat Marjolein aan den Boom (So., Nijmegen, NETH/Exchange Student), 3-seat Meredith Miller (Lake Oswego, OR/Seattle Pacific Univ.), 2-seat Annie Bender (Fr., Fairbanks, AK/West Valley HS) and bow Kay Kaszubinski (So., Los Altos, CA/Los Altos HS).

Humboldt State prevailed in the open W2V8+ in 8:07.04 with a split of 6.27 seconds over Willamette. The Bearcats were second in 8:13.31, which was 10 seconds in front of Lewis & Clark in third at 8:23.31.

"They had tremendous boat speed and a visible look to their stroke that revealed length and boat run," Parkman said regarding the Willamette's W2V8."

The Willamette men's varsity 8+ finished in front of four crews and trailed only the winning boat from Lewis & Clark, which won in 7:18.32. It was a close race, with WU taking second at 7:22.44. A margin of just over 13 seconds separated the Bearcats from the third place crew from Puget Sound. UPS finished in 7:35.48.

"The men's varsity eight was neck-to-neck with Lewis & Clark all the way down the course," Parkman noted. "The men's team at Willamette has never had an eight as fast as this eight this year."

WU, UPS and L&C met twice in the women's varsity 8+ races. Willamette won the open WV8+ in the afternoon, but Puget Sound won the NCAA Division III WV8+ in the morning. The Loggers registered a winning result of 7:31.534. L&C placed second in 7:37.47, while Willamette was third in 7:42.66 and Pacific Lutheran University was fourth in 8:33.24.

Western Washington University, ranked #1 in the CRCA/US Rowing Coaches Poll for NCAA Division II women's rowing, solidified its hold in the rankings by winning the Division II WV8+. The Vikings concluded the race in 7:25.04 to gain a margin of victory of 8.19 seconds over Seattle Pacific University, ranked #3 in the nation. Seattle Pacific finished in 7:33.23.

Conditions during the regatta included strong and sometimes gusty winds. According to Parkman, the Bearcats were ready to take on the wind.

"It was a cross head wind blowing off shore and it increased from 9-12 miles per hour with gust of 16 miles per hour as the day went on. We had the outside lane (farthest from shore) in all but one race, so it was a challenge we discussed pre-race and faced full on during the races," Parkman said.

"The women's team trained on this lake (Vancouver Lake) during Spring Break in order to get used to the type of chop a wind can kick up on the lake," Parkman added. "This experience helped us on race day. Our river (WU practices on the Willamette River), though having a fast current, is usually very flat water. I am so proud of how well the crews managed the extreme conditions found on the outside lane of the course on Saturday."

The Bearcats are set to compete next weekend in the Covered Bridge Regatta on Saturday, April 9 at Dexter Lake near Eugene, Ore.


Northwest Collegiate Rowing
Conference Invitational
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Vancouver Lake, Vancouver, Wash.

Willamette placed first in the women's open varsity eight+ during the afternoon session.

Willamette placed first in the women's open varsity eight+ during the afternoon session.