GOLD RIVER, Calif. — Wellesley College Crew advanced both its Varsity Eight (V8) and Second Varsity Eight (2V8) crews to Saturday's Grand Finals following day one of the 2015 NCAA Division III Rowing Championships at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma.
Wellesley, the 2015 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Champion, raced to a second place finish in the Varsity 8 (V8) repechage and a first place finish in the 2nd Varsity 8 (2V8) repechage to clinch spots in both Grand Finals. The Grand Finals beginning tomorrow morning with the 2V8 at 11:04 AM PDT (2:04 PM EDT).
The 2015 NCAA Championships opened with morning qualifying heats. Top-ranked Bates led from start to finish in the first V8 Heat, finishing in 6:53.09 to secure a spot in tomorrow's grand final. Hamilton followed, as the Continentals finished in 6:56.24, also securing a spot in the grand final. Wellesley (7:00.85) and Washington College (7:05.30) took third and fourth, respectively, dropping to the repechage later in the day.
In the V8 repechage, the Blue took advantage of their second opportunity to advance to the grand final, using a time of 6:55.35 to finish in second place. Tufts crossed the line first in the repechage, using a time of 6:54.29 to outpace the Blue over the final 1,500m after Wellesley got out to a slight advantage in the first 500m of the race. Puget Sound (7:02.44) and Washington College (7:03.81) took third and fourth, respectively.
Wellesley and Tufts will join Bates, Hamilton, Trinity (Conn.) and Williams in the V8 Grand Final. Trinity, the defending national champion, advanced with a 6:48.01 victory in the morning second heat, while Williams took second place in heat two to advance with a time of 6:55.40.
The Blue's 2V8 opened the day with a runner-up performance in Heat 1 of the 2V8 competition, finishing with a time of 7:01.15. Bates narrowly captured the victory with their time of 7:00.82. The Bobcats overcame an early deficit in the race, as Wellesley was out to the lead at both the 500m and 1000m marks on the course. Hamilton finished third in the opening heat at 7:38.86.
The 2V8 shined in the repechage, taking an early lead and racing to victory with a time of 7:08.92. The Blue finished a full length ahead of Williams (7:14.84) to advance to Saturday's grand final. Hamilton (7:32.21) and Washington College (7:56.21) rounded out the field. Wellesley's 2V8 will row against Trinity (Conn.), Bates and Williams in tomorrow's 2V8 grand final.
Blue Crew is making its sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Rowing Championships. Wellesley will attempt to capture the school's first national title tomorrow, beginning at 11:04 AM PDT (2:04 PM EDT).
Wellesley's Lineups for the 2105 NCAA Rowing Championships: