Rowing looks for bid to NCAA Championships

Cougars would earn first Pac-12 title with victory


Courtesy of WSU Athletic Communications

WSU rowing glides its oars through the water in a race earlier this season.

JACKSON GARDNER, Evergreen reporter

In search of a Pac-12 title and a bid to the NCAA Championships, WSU rowing will head to California where they hope to bring its ambitions to fruition.

“It always boils down to just having your best race when it counts the most,” Head Coach Jane LaRiviere said. “We have the privilege of racing on a week-to-week basis the fastest crews in the country … the tide always rises, so if you race fast crews you tend to get faster. We’re just hoping to get on their shirt tails and race as fast as possible.”

The Cougars have an opportunity for an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships with a win at the Pac-12 Championships.

If the Cougars pull off the upset, it would be WSU’s first rowing Pac-12 Championship. But if not, there is still a chance for the Cougars to be selected to the NCAA Championships as one of the 11 at-large bids.

In the span of five races, WSU will race a novice eight, a varsity four, and a third, second and first varsity eight. LaRiviere said her staff is still making selections for the final lineups.

The field of competition at the Pac-12 Championships is one of the strongest of any conference in the nation. Every crew racing this weekend received votes in the latest US Rowing/CRCA poll on May 2.

Of the seven Pac-12 schools competing, four are ranked above WSU. Those schools include University of Southern California, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and University of Washington. All these schools have beaten the Cougars handily this season.

But as LaRiviere mentioned, it is about racing your best when it counts. So what number would the Cougars need to hit in order to compete with the likes of Cal and UW?

Well, in their previous races the first varsity eights clocked in at 6:19.6 for UW, 6:18.2 for Cal, 6.20.1 for Stanford and 6:19.9 for USC. In comparison to WSU’s previous 2000-meter race time, the Cougars posted a respectable 6:24.

Five seconds can be the difference of almost two full boat lengths but as LaRiviere alluded to earlier in the season if the Cougars are within striking distance then anything is possible.

Racing starts 9 a.m. Sunday at Lake Natoma in Gold River, California.