#5 Women's Crew Advances Two of Three Boats to Sunday's NCAA Grand Finals

May 28, 2005

Sacramento, CA - For just the second time in its nine-year NCAA Championship history, the defending national champion Brown women's crew will head into the final day of competition at the 2005 NCAA Rowing Championships with only two of its three boats racing in the grand finals. With a fourth place finish in Saturday's semifinals, the Bears varsity eight did not advance to the headlining grand final race of the championships. After placing first overall out of 16 teams last year, Brown will compete in the petite final race for just the second time in history on Sunday, hoping to capture at least a seventh place finish overall. The Bears did however advance its second varsity eight and varsity four boats to the grand finals with a pair of first place finishes in Saturday's repechage races.

With the most number of points being awarded in the varsity eight grand final, the Bears have the odds stacked against them for defending their national title. Both Cal and Virginia will be racing in all three grand finals while Ohio State advanced both of its varsity eights to the top level finals as well. The first place team receives 36 points in the varsity eight and goes down in intervals of three. In the second varsity eight, 24 points is awarded to the first place team and goes down in two's while the highest point total for the varsity four is 12 points.

The varsity four cruised to its first place finish in its repechage race, timing in at 7:27.21. The Bears maintained control of the lead for the final 1,000 meters as they steadily pulled away from Wisconsin, which in the end finished a full length behind Brown. Yale failed to advance to the grand finals with a third place finish while Ohio State and Harvard took fourth and fifth respectively, advancing to Sunday's petite final with the Bulldogs.

The Bears will contend with Cal, which won the other varsity four repechage, yesterday's opening heat winners Virginia and Washington, as well as today's runner-ups Wisconsin and USC in tomorrow's grand final. Brown has been assigned to lane three of the race, which is set to begin at 10:45 a.m.

The second varsity eight, also victorious in its repechage, took a near full-length win over second place finisher Michigan, which just edged out third place finisher Yale by just one-tenth of a second. The Bears official time was 6:44.68, compared to the Wolverines 6:47.86 and the Bulldogs 6:47.87. Brown had a three-fourths of a length lead over Yale with 500 meters left to go before Michigan surged even with the Bulldogs from a full length back. Neither boat was able to gain any ground on Brown in the final 500 though, ensuring the crew's chance of defending its title on Sunday.

Brown will race against top-seeded Cal, Ohio State, which won today's other repechage, Virginia, Michigan and Michigan State in tomorrow's grand final. Brown will race in lane four with race time being set for 11:15 a.m. The other three Ivy League schools competing did not advance as they will all race in the petite final. The Bears took first place at last year's championship, edging out Cal by over two seconds.

After posting the fourth fastest time overall yesterday, Brown's varsity eight missed advancing to the grand final by less than two seconds. While Princeton broke out to an early lead and never looked back, Yale held steady to a half-length lead over the Bears by the midway point. Ohio State was hot on Brown's tail at that same point and heading into the final stretch it reduced the Bears lead to about three seats. The Buckeyes gave one final push and were able to overtake the crucial third place spot heading into the finish line.

The petite final, set to begin at 11:45 a.m., will feature Brown in lane one with Michigan, Stanford, Washington, USC and Tennessee racing along side it. The one time the Bears did race in a petite final, the team easily won to take seventh place overall, which was in 2003. Despite not competing in the grand finals that year, Brown managed to finish second overall as a team with Harvard winning the nation title by just two points.

Prior to this year, the Bears had taken part in 23 of the 24 total grand final races ever held in the history of the NCAA Championship. Brown has captured a record four national titles in the last six years.

Varsity Eight
Senior Mira Mehta (cox), junior Caitlin Flynn (1), sophomore Rachel Dearborn (2), junior Gillian Almy (3), senior Catherine Starr (4), junior Meg Anderson (5), senior Katie Reynolds (6), freshman Hannah Garrett (7), junior Deborah Dryer (8).

Second Varsity Eight
Senior Alex Agloro (cox), freshman Vanessa Rathbone (1), sophomore Elizabeth Fison (2), junior Maggie Cheney (3), senior Meaghan Kelly (4), freshman Christine Flynn (5), sophomore Devorah West (6), senior Megan Wachs (7), sophomore Jeanette Saraidaridis (8).

Varsity Four
Freshman Sarah Wu (cox), sophomore Sarah Brooks (1), freshman Molly Getz (2), sophomore Alexandra Hammer (3), freshman Emma Olson (4).