INDIANAPOLIS - UC San Diego's Varsity 8 crew capped off a strong weekend of rowing Sunday morning with a third-place finish at the NCAA Division II Women's Championships at Eagle Creek Park.
Nova Southeastern, the third-ranked team in the country, won the grand final with a time of 6:42.74 over the 2,000-meter course. Top-ranked Barry placed second in 6:48.00, UCSD, tied for sixth nationally, was third in 6:54.69 and No. 2 Western Washington finished fourth in 6:59.12.
"We had an amazing race and can say with confidence that we are the third-fastest team in the country," said Colin Truex, in his first season as UCSD's head coach. "I couldn't be more proud of the team."
Junior coxswain Catherine Sheffler, freshman Shruti Kamath, senior Alyssa Dixon-Word, freshman Kelsey Henck, senior Michelle Robbins, senior Ashley Travaglione, sophomore Rachel Schneiderman, sophomore Kelly Peterson and sophomore Claire Duesdieker made up the Tritons' squad.
Nova Southeastern took a lead at the 250-meter mark and led Barry by three seats at 500 meters. The Buccaneers came back and overtook the Sharks by a seat at the 1,500-meter mark, but NSU regained the lead with 400 meters remaining and pulled away late to win by over five seconds.
Western Washington came out of the start hard and was leading UCSD until the Tritons pushed ahead by the 1,000-meter mark. Both boats were trailing the two leaders by about one and a half lengths at that point. UCSD was able to hold its pace and crossed the finish line more than four seconds in front of the Vikings.
It was UCSD's second-straight win over regional rival Western Washington as the Tritons nipped the Vikings by under a second to win Saturday's repechage.
"This group of young women has continued to fight, scrap and claw their way through every race," said Truex.
Nova Southeastern claimed the overall national championship as the Sharks were also victorious in the Varsity 4 grand final Sunday. They recorded a winning time of 7:43.85 to come in well ahead of Barry (7:51.36) and Western Washington (7:55.23).
Central Oklahoma (7:04.58) won the Varsity 8 petit final against Mercyhurst (7:10.81).
The NCAA Division I team title went to Ohio State, while Williams won the Division III crown.
UC San Diego was making its fifth overall appearance at the NCAA Championships and first since 2008. The Tritons qualified a Varsity 8 in 2005 and were eligible for the team championship by qualifying a Varsity 8 and a Varsity 4 in 2006, 2007 and 2008. They finished as the national runner-up to Western Washington in 2007 and 2008.
"The seniors finished their careers with an outstanding performance and the underclassmen have something they can build on in the coming years," said Truex. "What a season!"
2013 NCAA Division II Women's Rowing Championships
May 31-June 2
Eagle Creek Park
Sunday, June 2
Varsity 8 Grand Final: Nova Southeastern 6:42.74, Barry 6:48.00, UCSD 6:54.69, Western Washington 6:59.12
Varsity 4 Grand Final: Nova Southeastern 7:43.85, Barry 7:51.36, Western Washington 7:55.23
Varsity 8 Petit Final: Central Oklahoma 7:04.58, Mercyhurst 7:10.81
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