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Central Oklahoma Rowing For Second Straight GNAC Title
In addition to being the defending GNAC champion, Central Oklahoma is the three-time defending Division II champion.
In addition to being the defending GNAC champion, Central Oklahoma is the three-time defending Division II champion.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

DEXTER, Ore. – At the inaugural GNAC Women’s Rowing Championships, Central Oklahoma was the undisputed queens of the water as the Bronchos swept all three races en route to the program’s third consecutive Division II national championship.

While the Bronchos enter as the favorites, the open water between the field will be smaller when the 2022 GNAC Championships take place on Saturday on Dexter Lake.

Central Oklahoma has seasoned itself primarily against Division I competition and opened the spring with four regattas at home along the Oklahoma River. That included its only head-to-head competition this season against other GNAC crews, taking seven of nine races from Seattle Pacific on March 26.

At April’s Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, the Bronchos advanced to all three collegiate finals. They placed fourth in the varsity 4+ final and fifth in the varsity 8+ against fields mostly comprised of Division I programs.

Central Oklahoma enters the GNAC Championships ranked No. 2 in the CRCA/Pocock Division II Poll (as of May 3). It is the first time in four years that UCO has not been ranked No. 1. The Bronchos are the No. 1 ranked team in the NCAA West Region Rankings in the varsity 4+, varsity 8+ and team categories.

While Western Washington’s eight national titles came before the GNAC women’s rowing era, the Vikings are looking forward to challenging the current defending champs.

The varsity 8+ has looked particularly competitive as of late thanks to its consistent spring lineup. The crew won the D2/D3/Club grand final at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships in a time of 6:50.64 and took second place in the Cascade Cup race at last weekend’s Windermere Cup in a time of 6:54.456.

The Vikings have held the upper hand in fours races against GNAC competition, winning both the varsity 4+ and open 4+ races against Seattle Pacific and Cal Poly Humboldt at the Falcon Regatta on April 9.

Western Washington is ranked No. 4 in the Pocock/CRCA Division II Poll. The Vikings are second-ranked team in the NCAA West Region Rankings and are No. 2 in the varsity 8+ and No. 4 in the varsity 4+.

Cal Poly Humboldt rowed just twice between the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the start of the 2022 season but the layoff seems to have done little to slow the Lumberjacks down.

The varsity 8+ has picked up three victories on the season, most notably taking both flights at the Covered Bridge Regatta on Dexter Lake on April 16.  The team also saw its varsity 4+ pick up two victories at Covered Bridge.

The Lumberjacks won the second varsity 8+ flight over Seattle Pacific at the Falcon Regatta on April 9. At the WIRA Championships, Humboldt took seconds in the D2/D3/Club varsity 8+ grand final, four seconds behind Western Washington, and was third in the varsity 4+ grand final behind Seattle Pacific.

Cal Poly Humboldt is No. 5 in the Pocock/CRCA Division II Poll. The Lumberjacks are No. 3 in the NCAA West Region Rankings in all three categories.

Seattle Pacific placed second to Central Oklahoma at last year’s GNAC Championships and is the only team to face all three of its conference foes this season. The Falcons traveled to Oklahoma in March and coupled that trip to an appearance in the FIRA Championships, winning a pair of fours races.

The Falcons hosted both Cal Poly Humboldt and Western Washington for the Falcon Regatta on April 9 and won the lone varsity 8+ flight that featured boats from all three programs. At the WIRA Championships, SPU finished third in the D2/D3/Club varsity 8+ grand final and won the second varsity 8+ grand final. The varsity 4+ closed the regular season by placing second at the Windermere Cup on Saturday.

Seattle Pacific is No. 6 in the Pocock/CRCA Division II Poll. The Falcons are No. 4 in the NCAA West Region Rankings for team and varsity 8+ and are No. 2 in the varsity 4+ category.

The GNAC Women’s Rowing Championships will consist of three races. The varsity 8+ and varsity 4+ will count towards the team championship while the day will open with an exhibition 4+ race.

This year’s championships are being staged in conjunction with the Pac-12 Conference, which will conduct its championship races on the Dexter Lake course on Sunday, and the Oregon Association of Rowers.

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