GOLD RIVER, Calif. - The UC San Diego women's crew team advanced three boats to the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships' grand final races after facing tough competition in Saturday's heats. The Triton varsity eight, second varsity eight and lightweight four boats each contended against the best in the western region for the opportunity to secure an NCAA Division II National Championships at-large bid.
In the varsity eight grand final, UCSD kept with the top of the field until the 1000 meter mark. At that point, Humboldt, Western Washington and UC Santa Barbara pulled away, and the Tritons were left to contend with Seattle Pacific and Puget Sound. Coxswain Katrina Kettler called an early sprint with 400m remaining, and freshman Kelly Peterson led the spurt with abandon.
In the end, the Tritons were unable to pull through, finishing last in the field with a time of 7:12.6, two seconds behind Puget Sound. Western Washington won the race, crossing the finish line at 6:45.9.
"We had the youngest team on the water in the varsity eight, but the squad has been energized by the number of freshmen and sophmores in our boats. We just need more experience and more hard strokes," said UCSD head coach Pattie Pinkerton.
The result left UCSD ranked fourth in the West, without hope for an NCAA D-II National Championships at-large bid.
UCSD's second varsity eight shell finished sixth out of seven in its race, beating out last place Mills College by nearly three seconds. The Tritons crossed the finish line at 7:52.6, several lengths behind the race's victor, Western Washington, who clocked a time of 7:11.6.
The lightweight four contest was close through the first 1000 meters, until Humboldt pulled away to take the lead. Stanford and University of San Diego settled into a battle for second and third place, while the Tritons faced Santa Clara and Chapman at the back of the field. UCSD finished in 8:09.1, good enough for fifth place ahead of Chapman. Humboldt State won the race by a solid ten seconds, clocking a time of 7:42.5.
The weekend's races were the last as Tritons for seniors Natassia Peterson (varsity eight), Ellen Umeda (lightweight four) and Carolyn Belak (varsity four).
"We'll put the oars away and start planning for next year. We're pretty excited about it," Pinkerton said.
With the weekend's result, the Tritons failed to qualify for the NCAA D-II National Championships, ending their 2011-12 season in Gold River.
Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships- Day Two
April 29, 2012
Gold River, Calif.
1. WWU 6:45.9
2. HSU 6:48.6
3. UCSB 6:58.9
4. SPU 7:06.8
5. UPS 7:10.6
6. UCSD 7:12.6
Second Varsity Eight
1. WWU 7:11.6
2. UCSB 7:17
3. HSU 7:25.3
4. UPS 7:28.8
5. L&C 7:35.8
6. UCSD 7:52.6
7. MIL 7:55.1
1. HSU 7:42.5
2. STAN 7:52.3
3. USD 8:02.1
4. SCU 8:08.5
5. UCSD 8:09.1
6. CHAP 8:24.8