Vikings Make Eights Grand Final; UCO, SPU To Fours Final
Western Washington won the varsity 8+ repechage in 6:48.03 after placing second in Friday morning's preliminary heats. Photo by Lisa Worthy.
Western Washington won the varsity 8+ repechage in 6:48.03 after placing second in Friday morning's preliminary heats. Photo by Lisa Worthy.

Friday, May 27, 2022

SARASOTA, Fla. – All three GNAC teams will have boats in the grand finals, making it through the hard way on day one of the NCAA Division II Rowing Championships at Nathan Brenderson Park.

After placing second in its preliminary heat, Western Washington won the varsity 8+ repechage to advance to the grand final in a time of 6:48.03. The Vikings were five seconds ahead of third-place Seattle Pacific (6:52.26) and fourth-place Central Oklahoma (6:53.66), who will race in Saturday’s petite final.

The Bronchos and Falcons will have boats in the varsity 4+ final after placing first and second in the repechage. Central Oklahoma led from start to finish to win with a time of 7:44.08 with Seattle Pacific crossing second in 7:52.27. Western Washington is headed to the petite final after placing third in a time of 7:54.64.

The win for the Vikings in the varsity 8+ repechage was a come-from-behind effort. After leading the first 500 meters, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) took the lead for the next 1,000 meters. The Vikings put in a complete team effort over the final 500 meters, coming from a second down to win by two seconds.

In the varsity 4+ repechage, Central Oklahoma put the hammer down early to try and secure its grand final spot. The Bronchos pulled ahead by five seconds in the first 500 meters and only built from there to win by eight seconds over Seattle Pacific.

The Falcons, meanwhile, came back to earn its spot in the grand final as it trailed Western Washington by three seconds at 500 meters. They finally pulled ahead in the third quarter of the race and extended late to beat the Vikings by two seconds.

Western Washington will join Thomas Jefferson, Mercyhurst and Embry-Riddle in the varsity 8+ grand final, which will begin at noon (EDT). Central Oklahoma and Seattle Pacific will join Embry-Riddle and Mercyhurst in the varsity 4+ grand final on Saturday at 11:12 a.m. (EDT).

In the first heat of the varsity 8+, all three boats kept contact with each other through the first 1,000 meters with Central Oklahoma holding a narrow lead after 500 meters. Mercyhurst opened up a two-thirds length lead over the next 500 meters. It turned into a duel between Mercyhurst and Central Oklahoma in the final 500 meters, but the Broncos could not close as Mercyhurst won in a time of 6:37.14. Central Oklahoma was second in 6:40.40 and Seattle Pacific was third in 6:44.26.

In the second heat, it turned into a duel between Western Washington and Thomas Jefferson in the first 500 meters. The Rams led by a third of a boat length after 1,000 meters and the Vikings were unable to go with them, building open water over the final 500 meters and cruising to the win in a time of 6:38.71. The Vikings were four seconds behind in second place in 6:42.90.

In the first heat of the varsity 4+ prelims, there was no one that could keep up with Embry-Riddle. The Eagles opened up over a boat length lead over the first 500 meters over Seattle Pacific, which became 30 meters of open water at 1,000 meters. While the Falcons could not catch the Eagles, they did open up a three-length lead over Thomas Jefferson to finish a strong second. Embry-Riddle crossed the line in a time of 7:37.27 with Seattle Pacific crossing in 7:52.78.

The second heat immediately turned into a duel between Central Oklahoma and Western Washington with the two boats opening space between Mercyhurst over the first 500 meters. By 1,000 meters, however, the tables had turned as the Bronchos built a two-length lead over the Vikings and watched Mercyhurst mount a valiant comeback. By the end of the race, it was Mercyhurst crossing the line first in a time of 7:32.22. The Bronchos placed second in 7:34.877 and the Vikings third in 8:06.401.