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Bears Edge Out Buckeyes for National Crown

by Genevieve Carrillo, gcarrillo@usrowing.org | May 31, 2016
Lake Natoma played host to the country’s top Division I, II and III rowing programs this weekend athletes from across the country competed for the 2016 NCAA National Championship title.

GOLD RIVER, Calif. - Lake Natoma played host to the country’s top Division I, II and III rowing programs over the weekend as athletes from across the country competed for the 2016 NCAA National Championship title.

The University of California finished first in the second varsity eight and varsity four races, along with a second-place finish in the first varsity eight to take home the Division I title for the third time in program history and the first time since 2006.

Barry University claimed the Division II title, winning both varsity eight races, while Wellesley College won the Division III title.

The Bears narrowly edged-out the three-time defending national champions, The Ohio State University Buckeyes, by three points. Virginia finished third with 112 points, followed by Stanford (107), Washington (106), Brown (102), Princeton (100), Texas (98), Wisconsin (80) and Michigan (75) to round out the top 10.

In Division I competition, California advanced all three boats to the grand finals with close finishes in the heats. The Bears battled against the Buckeyes in the varsity eight, but Ohio State pulled ahead for a winning time of 6:19.03, followed by California with a time of 6:21.11. The win was the third-straight win for the Buckeyes in the varsity eight category. 

In the grand final of the second varsity eight, California and Ohio State raced bow ball-to-bow ball as the Bears finished less than a second before Ohio State with a time of 6:28.06 to claim the program’s first title in that category.

Following in third was the University of Washington with a time of 6:30.55.

In the varsity four grand final, California finished with a strong sprint in 7:08.41, followed by Washington (7:09.2) and Virginia (7:12.07). 

In Division II, Barry University returned as champion in its 10th showing at the 2016 NCAA Division II Championship. Barry had a strong finish in both the varsity eight and varsity four finals to earn the title. Central Oklahoma and Western Washington finished as second and third place runners-up in both finals.

In the varsity eight final, Barry leapt off the line to lead at the start, leaving Oklahoma and Western to duel for the second place position. Barry crossed the line with a time of 6:44.18, followed by Central Oklahoma (6:47.11) and Western Washington (6:49.26) for the second consecutive varsity eight title for Barry.

The varsity four final finished with similar boat spacing, with Barry claiming the top spot in 7:36.20 followed by Central Oklahoma (7:41.91) and Western Washington (7:45.74). 

For the first time in program history, Wellesley University edged out division favorites Bates College and Williams University to claim the program’s first-ever national title.

“They’re amazing, the entire team,” said Wellesley Head Coach Tessa Spillane. “Top to bottom, they earned it. They’ve just worked really hard together all year.”

In the second varsity eight final, it was Bates who took a strong lead and continued to gain meters over the other crews, finishing with a time of 6:50.9 followed by Wellesley (6:59.3) and (Williams) 6:59.3. 

In the grand final for the varsity eight, it proved to be a tight race as Wellesley, Williams and Bates held a close margin through the first 1000 meters, all crossing the 1000 meter mark within milliseconds of each other. By the finish, Wellesley had pulled ahead and won with a time of 6:46.1, followed closely by Williams at 6:47.4 and Wesleyan at 6:47.8.

For a complete list of results for the 2016 NCAA Rowing National Championships, click here.

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