WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK: Fourteenth-ranked Washington State University women’s rowing will make its eighth overall, second-straight and fourth NCAA Championships appearance in five years as it heads to Eagle Creek Park at Indianapolis, Ind., May 30 through June 1 for the 2014 NCAA Rowing Championships...Notre Dame and the Indiana Sports Commission will serve as hosts for the event...Division I racing begins at 9:10 a.m. Friday with the varsity eight heats.
THE FIELD: WSU will compete against 21 other NCAA Division I teams, including five other Pac-12 squads...WSU’s varsity eight has defeated four of the 21 other varsity eights that will compete for the national championship; UCLA, Harvard, San Diego and Wisconsin...the Cougars have competed against five other NCAA participants; California, Indiana, USC, Stanford and Washington...this season marks the second with an expanded field of 22 teams...eleven teams earned automatic bids, while the other 11 (including Washington State) were at-large selections.
WSU HEAD COACH JANE LaRIVIERE ON THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: “I’ve been thinking in the back of my mind all year that this is a pretty special bunch. Things would have to go very well for us, but I think we’re a top-10 team and if we can sneak our way in the top-10, I think we’ll feel we have made good progress since last year. I am not going to divert from the general philosophy, which is; race better each time and get our best race out on the course when it matters most, and it never matters more than at NCAA Championships.”
EXPERIENCE AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Cougars’ NCAA roster features 16 student-athletes with experience at the NCAA Championships, including three with experience at two championships...five of the nine members of the varsity eight crew represented WSU last season at the 2013 NCAA Championships; Nicole Hare and Mickey Aylard (varsity eight), Hannah deVos and Elise Jones (second varsity eight) and Sarah Wu (varsity four)...deVos was also a member of the varsity eight crew at the 2011 Championships...seven of the nine crew members of the second varsity eight boat competed in prior championships, Emily Boquet (second varsity eight) in 2011 and Mollie McCabe who rowed with the second varsity eight in both 2013 and 2011...Kendall Boliba (varsity eight), Emily Starkel (second varsity eight), Noel Christiansen and Carter Marks (varsity four) and Megan McDonald (spare) each represented WSU at the Championships last season...coxswain Rebecca Burns and stroke Ieva Adomaviciute of the four boat were members of the varsity eight crew at last season’s NCAAs...spares Ashlee Bonahoom (second varsity eight) and Gina Head (varsity four) also rowed at last year’s championships.
2014 PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 15th-ranked Cougars finished sixth at the Pac-12 Championships May 18 at Lake Natoma with 17.5 points, just 1 point behind eighth-ranked USC with 18.5 points...WSU’s varsity eight had the highest finish of the day with fourth, while the second varsity eight and novice eight finished fifth and the varsity eight finished sixth, but just over a second behind UCLA in fifth.
PREVIOUSLY AT THE NCAAS: The Cougars are making their eighth trip as a team to the NCAA Championships, their second-straight and fourth in five years...their best finish came in 2006 as they placed fourth, led by a fourth-place finish from the varsity eight...WSU placed 14th in its last NCAA appearance in 2013, 12th in 2011, 13th in 2010, eighth in 2008, ninth in 2004 and 12th in 2003...WSU’s varsity eight earned an at-large bid in 2002, placing 13th...the highest individual boat finish was the second varsity eight’s third-place finish in 2004.
COACHING STAFF: Jane LaRiviere is in her 12th year as head coach of the WSU women’s rowing program...the Cougars have raced in seven NCAA Championships under LaRiviere...she is joined by assistant Josh Adam, novice coach Corrie McGrath and graduate assistant Devon Carroll...Adam is in his fourth year after coaching his prior two years at Indiana...McGrath is in her sixth year at WSU, after coaching stints at Clemson and Central Florida...Carroll is in her second year with the Cougars.
PAC-12 HIGHLY RANKED: Six of the seven Pac-12 rowing teams are ranked in the latest USRowing/CRCA Division I Coaches Poll Presented by Pocock Racing Shells released May 21, including four of the top nine teams...with 466 votes, Stanford is ranked second, receiving 10 first-place votes...Washington is ranked with sixth with 371 points, while California is seventh with 359...UCLA moved up three spots from last week’s poll to ninth with 279 votes, while USC dropped to 11th with 213 points...Washington State moved up one spot to 14th with 190 votes, while Oregon State dropped out of the rankings after holding 19th and received 39 votes.