First Varsity Eight Takes Fifth at NCAA Championships, Team Finishes Sixth Overall

First Varsity Eight Takes Fifth at NCAA Championships, Team Finishes Sixth Overall

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- The eighth-ranked Washington College women's rowing team finished in sixth place overall at the NCAA Division III Championships, held yesterday and today at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. The Shorewomen's first varsity eight placed fifth of eight boats, while the Shorewomen's second varsity eight was sixth of six boats.

In Friday morning's heats, the Shorewomen's second varsity eight finished third of three boats, while the first varsity eight was third of four boats. In the Shorewomen's second varsity eight heat, fourth-ranked Trinity took first place in 7:18.341, second-ranked Bates second in 7:23.337, and the Shorewomen third in 7:32.871. Trinity advanced directly to Saturday's grand final, while Bates and the Shorewomen moved on to Friday afternoon's repechage.

In the Shorewomen's first varsity eight heat, Bates finished first in 7:13.133, third-ranked William Smith second in 7:17.728, the Shorewomen third in 7:22.192, and sixth-ranked Ithaca fourth in 7:35.857. Bates and William Smith advanced directly to Saturday's grand final, while Ithaca and the Shorewomen moved on to Friday afternoon's repechage. 

In the second varsity eight repechage, the Shorewomen were fourth of four boats in 8:20.292. Bates won the repechage in 7:54.310, fifth-ranked Wellesley was second in 7:59.315, and William Smith was third in 8:10.410. Bates and Wellesley advanced to Saturday's grand final against top-ranked Williams and Trinity. 

In the first varsity eight repechage, the Shorewomen finished in second place - less than a second behind first-place Wellesley - to advance to Saturday's grand final against Williams, Trinity, William Smith, and Bates. Wellesley completed the course in 7:46.174, barely holding off a late charge from the Shorewomen, who finished in 7:46.851. Ithaca was third in 7:51.602, while Puget Sound was 8:14.761. 

In Saturday's petite final of the second varsity eight, William Smith won to place fifth overall in 7:48.152. The Shorewomen finished in 7:53.653 to place sixth overall. The grand final of the event determined places one through four in the second varsity eight, which went to Williams, Trinity, Bates, and Wellesley, in that order. 

In Saturday's grand final of the first varsity eight, Williams took first in 7:20.642, Bates second in 7:22.874, William Smith third in 7:25.592, Trinity fourth in 7:27.968, the Shorewomen fifth in 7:29.313, and Wellesley sixth in 7:40.614. Ithaca and Puget Sound - which competed as "at large eights" in the event and could not earn team points - raced in the petite final of the first varsity eight with Ithaca coming out on top.

The Shorewomen's first varsity eight's performance reflected how much the boat had improved over the course of the season. Not only did the Shorewomen finished 11 seconds ahead of Wellesley in the grand final after being edged out by the Blue in Friday's repechage, they had previously lost to Wellesley by over five seconds in a regatta in Chestertown back in March. The first varsity eight's pair of finishes ahead of Ithaca on Friday also more than atoned for finishing behind the Bombers at the ECAC National Invitational Rowing Championships in May. 

Williams captured the NCAA Division III Championship with 42 total points. Bates was second with 35, Trinity third with 31, William Smith fourth with 28, Wellesley fifth with 21, and the Shorewomen sixth with 20.

Sophomore Christie Phebus (Trappe, MD/Easton) was the coxswain of the Shorewomen's first varsity eight. Sophomore Kelly Bird (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) sat stroke, senior Rachel Benders (Cleveland Heights, OH/Beaumont School) was in the seven seat, sophomore Taira Sullivan (Stevensville, MD/Kent Island) was in the six seat, sophomore Mickey Fili (Sparks, MD/Hereford) was in the five seat, senior Kate Fiori (Boston, MA/Dana Hall School) sat in the four seat, junior Valeria DiLisi (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown) sat in the three seat, sophomore Ashley Myles (Chester Springs, PA/Owen J. Roberts) was in the two seat, and junior Ellie Hilton (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park) was the bow.

Junior Abigail Thomas (Hughesville, MD/Thomas Stone) was the coxswain of the Shorewomen's second varsity eight. Sophomore Krystal Brostek (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) sat stroke, freshman Leslie Rothstein (Lower Merion, PA/Lower Meion) was in the seven seat, freshman Giavonella Knapp (Vineland, NJ/Our Lady of Mercy Academy) was in the six seat, junior Emily Sahadeo (College Park, MD/Elizabeth Seton) sat in the five seat, freshman Maggie Perry (Fort Collins, CO/Poudre) was in the four seat, senior Lauren Halla (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddonfield Memorial) sat in the three seat, freshman Kayla Noll (Ocean City, NJ/Ocean City) was in the two seat, and freshman Katie Washart (Seaville, NJ/Ocean City) was the bow.

This was Washington College's first-ever full-team appearance at the NCAA Division III Championships; the Shorewomen had an at-large eight boat compete at the 2008 Championships and another at the 2009 Championships.