March 25, 2000
WAWAWAI LANDING, Wash. - The 21st-ranked Washington State women's rowing team won three out of five races, including a dramatic upset of both Victoria and No. 17 Oregon State in the Varsity Eight, under near-perfect racing conditions Saturday afternoon on the Snake River.
In the Varsity Eight, the day's feature race, WSU's boat covered the 2,000-meter course in a season-best time of 6:43.5, just .36 seconds ahead of Victoria's 6:43.86. Oregon State was third at 6:45.8. The Vikes, one of the top 10 programs in Canada, routed WSU by 23 seconds on a longer course last fall in Seattle and looked to be on their way to victory again after jumping out to an early half-length lead. But the Cougars pulled even at the 500-meter mark and the two boats stayed deadlocked throughout, neither being able to forge more than a one-meter lead.
With 100 meters remaining, WSU made its final push and took the lead by a nose, but Victoria responded with a charge of its own and pulled even with the Cougars a mere five meters from the finish line. On their final stroke, the WSU eight mustered just enough momentum to slip past Victoria at the line, clipping the Vikes by three inches in the closest race ever at Wawawai Landing. Oregon State, ranked four spots higher than the Cougars in the coaches' poll, fell one length back after 500 meters, and from there stayed in contact with the leaders, but never challenged.
"To be honest, we were going to let their (Victoria's) boat go ahead, and run our race against Oregon State," said WSU coach Tammy Crawford. "They are one of the top programs in Canada and I didn't expect to be able to stay with them today. But we were even with them at the 1,000-meter mark and had a comfortable lead on Oregon State, so our coxwain, Autumn Miller (Tacoma, Wash.), decided to go for it.
"Autumn called a great race today and our kids completely followed her lead. I know our seniors have been working really hard for a long time to feel this good about a race and this is a great feeling today. We definitely had some good combinations clicking together in that boat."
WSU also won an exciting five-boat Varsity Four race. Two different Oregon State boats spent time at the front of the pack before WSU's "A" team took the lead for good 1,000 meters in. The Cougars opened up an open water lead in the last 500 meters and brought home the win in a time of 7:37.0. OSU's "A" team was next at 7:47.95, followed by WSU "B" (7:51.50), OSU "B" (7:53.65) and OSU "C" (7:54.93).
The day got off to a solid start for the Cougars with the First Novice Eight easily beating Oregon State by almost six seconds. WSU pulled ahead after the first 200 meters and cruised home in a time of 6:52.76, while the Beavers crossed the line at 6:58.52.
"That was a really positive step for our Novice Eight boat," said Crawford. "Not so much the win, but the margin of the win -- that's a real strong statement."
Victoria then muscled its way to a victory in the Second Varsity Eight, holding off a late Oregon State charge, finishing in a time of 6:44.07 for a three second win. OSU clocked in at 6:47.32, while WSU's injury-depleted second varsity team struggled to a 6:55.42.
Then it was Oregon State's turn to reach the winner's circle in the Second Novice Eight. The two teams were even after 500 meters, but the Beavers opened it up after that and defeated the Cougars going away in a time of 7:08.20. WSU clocked a 7:20.09.
Coug sophomore Kirsten Koci (Mount Vernon, Wash.) was a double winner on the day, rowing in both the Varsity Eight and Novice Eight races. "That's really tough to do," said Crawford. "Kirsten rowed really well for us today and I think we benefited from having her in the varsity boat." Koci was a late replacement in the Varsity Eight for freshman Naomi Turnbull (Winnipeg, Manitoba), who was suspended from this week's race for academic reasons.
Other double winners for WSU included Christie Nelson (University Place, Wash.), Carolyn Oury (Vancouver, Wash.), Emily Rains (Kennewick, Wash.) and Jamie Orth (Normandy Park, Wash.), who all finished first in both the First Novice Eight and the Varsity Four.
The Cougars split up for their next competition, with the Varsity Eight, the Second Varsity Eight and the First Novice heading to the San Diego Crew Classic, one of the most important races of the season in terms of NCAA selections, April 1-2 in San Diego. WSU's Second Novice Eight boat will compete in the Husky Invitational April 1 in Seattle.
Wawawai Landing Regatta
Snake River, Wawawai Landing, Wash.
Saturday, March 25, 2000
Calm, mostly sunny, 55 degrees
Women's Rowing Results -
Varsity Eight - WSU 6:43.5, Victoria 6:43.86, OSU 6:45.8.
Second Varsity Eight - Victoria 6:44.07, OSU 6:47.32, WSU 6:55.42.
Novice Eight - WSU 6:52.76, OSU 6:58.52.
Second Novice Eight - OSU 7:08.20, WSU 7:20.09.
Varsity Four - WSU-A 7:37.0, OSU-A 7:47.95, WSU-B 7:51.50, OSU-B 7:53.65, OSU-C 7:54.93.