EUGENE, Ore. — Western Washington University came with .24 seconds of winning the varsity eight race and its varsity four was victorious in women’s rowing competition Saturday at the 20th Annual Covered Bridge Regatta on Dexter Lake.
In all, the Vikings had four entries with the junior varsity eight placing second and the novice four finishing third.
WWU, ranked No.2 in this week’s Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/NCAA II National Poll, was outstanding in its first test against DII West Region competition.
WWU’s varsity eight covered the 2,000-meter course in 7:02.40, finishing just two feet behind Division I Portland (7:02.40). Another DI entry, Seattle U., was third (7:07.09), followed by two DII shells, Humboldt State (7:07.58) and UC San Diego (7:22.00), in the seven-boat race.
Humboldt State entered the regatta ranked No.4 nationally and UC San Diego was tied for No.5.
“The varsity eight really had a good run down the course,” said WWU coach John Fuchs (16th year). “I wish we could have gone just a little faster, but they continue to improve and our race plan is really coming together.”
Seated in the school’s top boat were coxswain Maeghan Callegari (Jr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), stroke Catrina Cuadra (Sr., Lake Stevens), No.7 Regan Wessman (Sr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), No.6 Lauren Ramstead (So., Everson/Nooksack Valley), No.5 Megan Marler (So., Morrison, CO/D’Evelyn), No.4 Olivia Rowland (Sr., Seattle/Holy Names), No.3 Christine Henie (Sr., Chugiak, AK), No.2 Emily Bartlett (Fr., Broadlands, VA/Thomas Jefferson S&T), and bow Emily Little (So., Port Angeles/Peninsula CC)
The Vikings’ varsity four took the junior varsity four race by almost two boat lengths with a winning time of 7:49.40. UC San Diego was second in 7:56.29 and Humboldt State third in 8:02.03. There were a total of seven entries
“They rowed very strong from start to finish,” Fuchs said of his varsity four. “We had a different lineup, but they performed well as did all of our crews.”
WWU’s top four was made up of coxswain Kate Nelson (Jr.., Moscow, ID), stroke Audra Massey (Jr., Albuquerque, NM), No.3 Jenny Chang (Fr., Sammamish/Int. School of Beijing), No.2 Olivia Gangmark-Strickland (So., Bainbridge Island), and bow Katya Hewitt (So., Bellingham).
Portland took the junior varsity eight race in 7:10.60, well ahead of second-place WWU (7:24.74) with Lewis & Clark third (7:30.48) among five boats.
Portland’s novice four also was victorious with an 8:32.60 clocking. Seattle Pacific was second (8:37.67) and the Vikings third (8:38.92) in the seven-boat race.
WWU takes a week off before competing in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships on Apr. 26-27 on Lake Natoma at Gold River, Calif.
“Today was our first look at the other (DII West Region) schools, but the real defining moment will be in two weeks,” said Fuchs.