This release is courtesy of Wellesley and WPI Sports Information.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - All four New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) boats advanced to the Grand Finals, as both the first varsity and second varsity boats from Wellesley and WPI advanced to the Grand Finals in the 2019 NCAA Division III Rowing Championship.
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.
Both WPI crews advanced to their respective NCAA Division III Women's Rowing Championship Grand Finals with top two finishes in their heats Friday afternoon. The regatta is hosted by Indiana and the Indiana Sports Corporation at the Indianapolis Rowing Center at Eagle Creek Park.
The third-ranked first varsity eight won the heat in a time of 6:39.264. No. 2 Wellesley was second (6:40.747), No. 6 Hamilton was third (6:51.149) and No. 10 Pacific Lutheran was fourth (6:54.467). No. 1 Bates took the other heat in 6:28.620, followed by No. 5 Ithaca (6:35.334), No. 4 Wesleyan (6:47.283), and No. RV Washington College (6:55.256). Tomorrow's grand final will feature WPI, Wellesley, Bates and Ithaca, and the top two from the repechage that will be contested by Hamilton, Pacific Lutheran, Wesleyan and Washington College.
The second varsity eight heat kicked off the day; however, the race was halted quickly due to an equipment issue on another boat. The heat was restarted after the varsity eight heats. The crew of the Jen"Niffer" McLaughlin was second to Bates (6:48.639), and ahead of Pacific Lutheran (7:08.664) and Washington College (7:12.957) with a time of 7:00.342. They will be joined by Wesleyan and Hamilton, and the top two from the repechage that will include Pacific Lutheran, Washington College, Wellesley and Ithaca.
Despite a picturesque day, Thursday night storms impacted the course and caused racing to be postponed almost eight hours. WPI assistant coaches Elizabeth Crowley and Larissa Naidoo, and Men's Rowing head coach Larry Noble spent a majority of the day helping get the course ready for racing.
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.