PHILADELPHIA - The UC San Diego women's rowing team qualified its Varsity 8 boat for the Grand Final Friday at the Dad Vail Regatta on the Schuylkill River outside of Philadelphia.
UCSD, tied for fifth in the national rankings, will race in the Grand Final for the Henry Backe Trophy against five other NCAA Division II crews Saturday at 1 p.m. (Pacific).
In its first race of the regatta, the Triton Varsity 8 placed third in its heat with a time of 6:45.24. Nova Southeastern, the top-ranked team in the country, won the heat in 6:37.17 and was followed by No. 8 Philadelphia in 6:44.33. Merrimack College placed fourth (7:16.53) and Franklin Pierce was fifth (7:43.96).
No. 3 Humboldt State won heat two, recording a time of 6:33.04. With their wins, HSU and Nova Southeastern automatically advanced to the Grand Final.
UCSD's third-place heat finish sent it to a repechage race, with the top four placers moving on to the Grand Final. The Tritons took third, crossing the finish line in 6:51.92. Fourth-ranked Barry had a winning time of 6:44.49 and Mercyhurst was second in 6:48.38. Philadelphia was the final qualifier for the Grand Final, coming in fourth with a time of 6:52.79.
"The Varsity 8 had an excellent day, they really came together," said UCSD head coach Colin Truex. "These were the best two races we've rowed all season and I feel like they're finally clicking."
The Tritons will row in lane one Saturday.
UCSD's Varsity 4 crew also competed Friday, finishing third in heat one in 7:30.99, just missing out on a Grand Final appearance as the top two boats from each heat qualified. Virginia Tech won heat one in 7:27.45 and Bowdoin was second, clocking a 7:30.41, just .58 in front of the Tritons.
The top two from heat two were Nova Southeastern (7:14.16) and Humboldt State (7:16.00).
Varsity 8 Heat One
1. Nova Southeastern 6:37.17
2. Philadelphia 6:44.33
3. UCSD 6:45.24
4. Merrimack 7:16.53
5. Franklin Pierce 7:43.96
Varsity 8 Repechage
1. Barry 6:44.49
2. Mercyhurst 6:48.38
3. UCSD 6:51.92
4. Philadelphia 6:52.79
5. Rollins 7:07.88
6. Merrimack 7:29.31
Varsity 4 Heat One
1. Virginia Tech 7:27.47
2. Bowdoin 7:30.41
3. UCSD 7:30.99
4. Mercyhurst 7:31.66
5. College of New Jersey 7:36.79
6. Florida State 7:43.78