Bearcats Earn Second Place in Women's Varsity 4+ at WIRA Championship Regatta

Women's Novice 4+ Finishes Third for Willamette

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

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. -- The Bearcats of Willamette University concluded the 2012 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship Regatta with two strong finishes in the Grand Finals on Sunday, April 29 at Lake Natoma. Willamette earned second place in the women's varsity 4+ and grabbed third place in the women's novice 4+.

Combined with a victory by the men's varsity 4+ in the Petite Final on Saturday, the pair of top-three finishes on Sunday completed a solid weekend for the Bearcats.

The Grand Final in the women's varsity 4+ for Division II, Division III and club teams was the first event of the second day, and Willamette's four was ready for the competition. The top opponent was Humboldt State University (Calif.), the #1 team in NCAA Division II, which won its preliminary heat head-to-head with the Bearcats from NCAA Division III on Saturday.

University of California-Irvine, which won the other heat in the prelims, and Western Washington University, the third place team in the heat with Humboldt State and Willamette, also looked to be contenders among the six shells in the Grand Final.

Humboldt State held off the Bearcats once again, finished in 7:36.6 for the win, while Willamette followed at 7:39.7. HSU's margin in the Grand Final was 3.1 seconds, about the same as the  2.8-second margin the Lumberjacks held over Willamette in the prelims.

UC-Irvine was third at 7:44.8 and Western Washington took fourth seven seconds later at 7:51.8. Seattle University (Wash.) finished fifth in 8:04.1 and Orange County College (Calif.) was sixth in 8:13.2.

The women's novice 4+ shaped up as a battle between the University of San Diego (Calif.), Willamette and Western Washington for the top spot in the Grand Final. San Diego won one of the preliminary heats on Saturday, with Willamette in second place. Western Washington prevailed in the other preliminary heat.

On Sunday, San Diego held the edge, winning in 7:38.7, while Western Washington took second in 7:46.5. Willamette held third place at 7:51.5, as the Bearcats reached the finish line just over 16 seconds in front of Saint Mary's College (Calif.) in fourth.

Saint Mary's concluded the race in 8:07.9, with the University of Puget Sound in fifth at 8:14.1 and Sacramento State University (Calif.) in sixth at 8:20.0.

WIRA Championship Regatta
Willamette concluded the 2012 WIRA Championships with a a second place finish and a third place finish.

Willamette concluded the 2012 WIRA Championships with a a second place finish and a third place finish.