GOLD RIVER, Calif. -
The UC San Diego women's crew program began the first day of competition at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships on Saturday, racing amidst difficult conditions on Lake Natoma outside of Sacramento.
UCSD had six boats competing, which included the varsity eight, varsity four, novice eight, novice four, lightweight eight and lightweight four. The novice four and both lightweight crews made it to grand final competition, with the varsity four and novice eight advancing to their respective petite finals. The varsity eight was able to qualify for the petite final.
Head coach Pattie Pinkerton had high hopes for the varsity four entering the conference regatta this weekend. Racing in some extremely rough conditions with 20 mph winds, the varsity quartet placed fifth in its heat, earning a trip to the petite final. In the petite final, the Tritons found themselves in the lead until the final 10 strokes, where Long Beach State managed to pass for the win by a foot and a half.
"We had two new members of our varsity four," Pinkerton said. "They did an exceptional job and we just barely fell short in an awesome race.
Greatly affected by the bad conditions, the Tritons' varsity eight finished fifth in its heat. UCSD's top boat got faster as the race progressed, advancing to the petite final.
"We were a bit disappointed that there would be no grand final for the varsity eight or four," Pinkerton added. "Despite the outcome, it was a very strong race for us. The field was flat out fast."
The Tritons' novice eight boat placed third in its heat and also took part in a petite final, finishing third in that race as well. The Tritons raced against Division I, II, III and club teams, which made for an extremely strong field.
The novice four finished third and qualified for the grand final on Sunday. UCSD's lightweight four will race directly in the grand final tomorrow, while the lightweight eight boat was racing in the grand final on Saturday and managed to claim second place in a four-boat field.
"We have an outstanding team that is very young and full of talent," Pinkerton concluded. "We have seen huge improvements throughout the season and that was true today, as well. Although we may not have received the ideal outcome today, the future is very bright for our program."
The varsity eight will race in the petite final with the novice four and lightweight four competing in their respective grand finals on day two of the WIRA Championships on Sunday. For a complete racing schedule, visit www.gowira.org.