Sarasota, FL --- WPI made a successful debut at the NCAA Division III Rowing Championships on Friday morning, seeing its varsity eight qualify directly for Saturday's grand final with a second place showing in its heat at the Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, FL. The second varsity eight was the runner up in the repechage to also reach the grand final.
The No. 3 Engineers found themselves in third after 500 meters, a half second behind second place Wesleyan, before pushing ahead of the No.4 Cardinals by a full second at the midway point. WPI continued to push, finishing in a time of 6:51.64, over nine seconds ahead of Wesleyan (7:00.98). Top-ranked and defending champions Bates won the heat in a time of 6:45.60 while No. 14 Washington College (MD) was fourth (7:24.06).
Bates and WPI will be joined by No. 2 Ithaca and No. 10 Wellesley, as well as Wesleyan and No. T-6 Pacific Lutheran who advanced via the afternoon's repechage. Bates, Ithaca and WPI were 1-2-3 the NIRC grand final two weeks ago on Lake Quinsigamond that also featured Wesleyan while Wellesley was in the petite. Pacific Lutheran made the trek to the lake in early April.
The second varsity eight rowed well and finished third in the first heat of the morning, reaching the finish line in a time of 7:22.38. Wellesley (6:55.02) won the heat, edging Bates (6:55.54) while Washington was fourth (7:36.95). After what amounted to be a three-hour delay due to weather, the "Nancy E. Wood Popinchalk" crew (6:57.872) led over half the race before crossing the finish line a second behind Pacific Lutheran (6:56.864) to reach the grand final. Ithaca (7:02.264) and Washington (7:19.107) will go head-to-head in the petite final.
UPDATED (7:56pm): The 2V grand final is scheduled for 8:34am and the varsity eight grand final is slated for 8:42am.
Click HERE if the video does not appear below
Varsity Eight - Meet the Team
Madison Healey (Atkinson, NH) - Coxswain
Sarah Wutka (North Granby, CT)
Christine Hovermale (Alameda, CA)
Jasmine Loukola (Wells, ME)
Lillian Mell (Montara, CA)
Marlies de Jong (Huntington Beach, CA)
Rachel Lia (South Burlington, VT)
Kinsey McNamara (Chelmsford, MA)
Eva Barinelli (Tewksbury, MA)
Second Varsity Eight - Meet the Team
Madeline Burke (Verona, NJ) - Coxswain
Diana Celaj (Worcester, MA)
Alexandra Connor (Baldwinsville, NY)
Olivia Kiristis (Upton, MA)
Abby Sawyer (Uxbridge, MA)
Kylie Dickinson (Meredith, NH)
Amelia Harvey (Sudbury, MA)
Maya Sun (Belmont, CA)
Josephine Bowen (Lunenburg, MA)