This release is courtesy of WPI and Wellesley Sports Information.
SARASOTA, Fla - On Saturday afternoon the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) was proud to see two teams compete at the NCAA Division III Rowing National Championship. Wellesley finished as the National Runner Up while WPI followed closely behind to take bronze in the regatta.
The Wellesley College crew Second Varsity Eight (2V8+) earned silver and the Varsity Eight (V8+) finished fourth overall to help Blue Crew claim national runner-up honors in the team competition during Saturday's Grand Finals at the 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park.
The result is the second best in Wellesley program history at the NCAA Championships and marks the first time in program history that the Blue have finished as the national runner-up. Bates College took first in both races to claim their second straight NCAA national championship and third in the last four years.
Second Varsity Eight Grand Final:
With an unsettled forecast projected for Sunday, a shift in the schedule moved Saturday's Grand Finals earlier in the day. The 2V8+ Grand Final turned into a rematch of Friday's opening heat with the Blue and the Bobcats dueling throughout the 2000m course.
Bates held the early lead over the field, as the Blue trailed second place Williams through the opening portion of the race. However, a blistering second 500m from Wellesley helped the Blue pass both Williams and Bates and take the lead at the midway point in 3:26.736. Bates rallied toward the 1500m mark, retaking the lead while the Blue and Bates crews both pulled away from the rest of the field. Bates maintained their slight edge through the final 500m to win in 6:52.037. Wellesley followed in 6:53.715 to earn silver, well ahead of third place Williams in 7:02.157.
Wellesley 2V8+ Lineup: C - Stephanie Kim (Wellesley, Mass.); 8 - Meg Babikian (Belmont, Mass.); 7 - Zoe Cheng (Orinda, Calif.); 6 - Jocelyn Reahl (Portland, Ore.); 5 - Faye Washburn(Seattle, Wash.); 4 - Audrey Ellis (Lincolnshire, Ill.); 3 - Sloane Rice (Miami, Fla.); 2 - Rhiannon Mulligan (Santa Cruz, Calif.); 1- Katie Livingston (Wellesley, Mass.)
Varsity Eight Grand Final:
The national champion Bobcats seized control of the V8+ Grand Final over the second 1000m to clinch the title, holding off early pushes from Ithaca College and WPI to take a wire-to-wire victory.
Bates had little more than a one seat lead through the first 500m but continued to pull away from the Bombers following a close 500m. Wellesley opened the race in fourth, just under two seconds back of New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rival WPI in third. The Blue kept pace with the Bombers and the Engineers in the race for the silver and bronze but couldn't find a final push, taking fourth overall in 06:49.935. Bates took gold in 06:40.713, followed by Ithaca in second (06:44.886) and WPI in third (06:46.017).
Wellesley V8+ Lineup: C - Sydney Stento (Boise, Idaho); 8 - Emilia Ball (Albany, N.Y.); 7 - Liz Shumway (Eden Praire, Minn.); 6 - Frances Dingivan (Salt Lake City, Utah); 5 - Kelsey Campbell(Broomfield, Colo.); 4 - Molly Hoyer (Newton, N.J.); 3 - Lauren Bazley (Issaquah, Wash.); 2 - Anna Gaskill (Fairfax, Va.); 1 - Alyssa Rivera (Killington, Vt.)
Wellesley has now finished in the top-four in every NCAA Division III Championship since 2011. Wellesley has also finished in the top-three in each of the last four years, including third place finishes in 2015 and 2017 and 2016's NCAA national championship.
WPI punctuated it's best season in school history by finishing third in the varsity eight race and as a team at the NCAA Division III Women's Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, FL. The team finish is the highest of any NCAA team sport in school history.
Bates won both the varsity eight and second varsity eight and claimed its second straight team title with 56 points while 2016 champion was second with 45 while WPI amassed 42 points following a fifth place in the grand final of the second varsity eight.
In the varsity eight grand final, WPI was a full second behind Ithaca for second place 500 meters in the race and then inched back with slightly quicker splits over the next two 500 meters but ultimately was unable to slip past the Bombers at the end. Bates won wire-to-wire in a time of 6:40.713 while Ithaca (6:44.886) crossed the line just ahead of the Engineers (6:44.886). NEWMAC rival Wellesley (6:49.935) was fourth followed by Wesleyan (6:49.935) in fifth while Pacific Lutheran (7:01.615) was sixth. Williams won the petite final in a head-to-head race with Washington College (MD) (7:04.740 to 7:13.44).
The Crimson and Gray's second varsity eight earned WPI valuable teams points with a fifth-place showing in its grand final race. The Engineers finished ahead of sixth place Pacific Lutheran by over five seconds (7:12.921 to 7:18.328) to assure that WPI would be in third place as a team after the varsity eight claimed bronze. Bates (6:52.037) edged Wellesley (6:53.715) in an entertaining race while Williams (7:02.157) was third and Wesleyan (7:08.352) fourth. The petite final saw Ithaca (7:26.678) defeat Washington (7:35.158) in a head-to-head race.
Final Team Standings - Division III Points
1. Bates 56
2. Wellesley 45
3. WPI 42
4. Ithaca 41
5. Wesleyan 38
6. Williams 34
7. Pacific Lutheran 31
8. Washington College 21