INDIANAPOLIS -- Wellesley College crew advanced both boats to Saturday's Grand Finals, as the Blue made the program's tenth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Women's Rowing Championships on Friday at the Indianapolis Rowing Center at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.
Heavy debris littered the course throughout the day following storms that moved through the Indianapolis area on Thursday evening. Originally slated to begin early in the morning, Friday's racing did not take place until the late afternoon. The race schedule was compressed, as opening heats were followed by the repechage heats in the evening.
Wellesley's Varsity 8 (V8+) crew advanced directly to Saturday's Grand Final with a second place finish in the team's opening heat. The Blue got out to an early lead over New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rival WPI. The two NEWMAC crews distanced themselves from the field through the opening 1000m meters before WPI (04:59.085) took a narrow lead over the Blue (04:59.628) at the 1500m mark. The Engineers would hold on to the lead, winning the heat in 06:39.264, while Wellesley followed in second (06:40.747). The Blue finished over ten seconds ahead of third place Hamilton (06:51.149).
The Blue missed grabbing an automatic spot in the Second Varsity Eight (2V8+) Grand Final by a tenth of a second. Wellesley had a hold on second place through the first 500m of the team's opening heat, trailing only Hamilton. However, Wellesley dropped to third through the middle portion of the course, with Wesleyan overtaking the Continentals with 500m remaining. The Cardinals would give a final surge to capture the heat, as Wellesley and Hamilton raced for the second spot. In the end, Hamilton would take the second automatic qualifier by tenths of a second, finishing with a time of 06:47.777, just ahead of the Wellesley mark of 06:47.787.
With the third place finish, the Blue 2V8+ returned to the course just three hours later for the repechage, looking to secure a top-two finish and a spot in Saturday's Grand Final. Wellesley cruised to victory, leading from start to finish with a final time of 07:05.160 to advance to the Grand.
Saturday's 2V8+ Grand Final will take place at 11:12 AM EST. The V8+ Grand Final will follow at 11:36 AM EST. Live Results and Live Video will be available for Saturday's races. For more on the NCAA Championships, visit NCAA.com.
Wellesley NCAA Lineups (5/31):
V8+: C - Sooji Kang (Columbus, Ohio); 8 - Frances Dingivan (Salt Lake City, Utah); 7 - Katie Livingston (Wellesley, Mass.); 6 - Rhiannon Mulligan (Santa Cruz, Calif.); 5 - Casey Martin (Darien, Conn.); 4 - Katie Ball (Hanover, N.H.); 3 - Anna Gaskill (Fairfax, Va.); 2 - Emilia Ball (Albany, N.Y.); 1 - Julianna Wright (Tampa, Fla.)
2V8+: C - Vanessa Delarca (Asheville, N.C.); 8 - Mia Caglieris (Hightstown, N.J.); 7 - Zoe Cheng (Orinda, Calif.); 6 - Maria Iannotti (Narragansett, R.I.); 5 - Olivia Gorman (Bristol, Conn.); 4 - Alanna Uthgennant (West Hartford, Conn.); 3 - Faye Washburn (Seattle, Wash.); 2 - Alyssa Rivera (Killington, Vt.); 1 - Pippa Cronin (New York City, N.Y.)
Alternates: Jocelyn Reahl (Portland, Ore.); Emmet Odegaard (San Francisco, Calif.); Sasha Blachman (Bellevue, Wash.)