Monday, May 30, 2011

Championship Weekend: NCAAs and ACRAs for 2011

UVa Wins Men's Varsity Eight at the 2011 ACRA Championship Regatta

The Virginia men came roaring back from Dad Vails, where they fell to fourth in a tight field racing out of lane five, to begin their run against the Michigan Wolverines with a win in the semifinal. Having set the stage, the UVa men closed the deal yesterday in dramatic fashion taking the men's varsity eight title, and handing the Wolverines their first ever loss in that event at ACRAs. The thing is, we're not surprised.

In February, we published this article, discussing the great work that RR Interviewee Frank Biller had been doing with the UVa team – the Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints displayed the physiological results to prove it. Matt Miller and others were getting the work done that it would take to win this Spring, and yesterday, Miller and the UVa men, with John Furlong back at stroke, capitalized on that work.

The Michigan Wolverines also had an outstanding regatta, taking the silver in the varsity eight, gold in the second varsity eight (with UVa taking silver), gold in the varsity lightweight four, men's pair and men's novice lightweight four, as well as bronze in the men's novice eight (behind a strong Purdue crew and second place UVa). Hats off to Gregg Hartsuff and Michigan for yet another strong year.

Again, we picked 5 of 6 varsity eights in the grand finals, with the exception being a strong performance from UC Irvine to take fourth place. While we based our pick for first place on Dad Vails (Michigan rather than UVa), we'd selected UVa to win Dad Vails – evidently they'd rather be underdogs. Also, Notre Dame, led by captain and RR Interviewee Greg Flood, performed very well, with the Irish varsity and second varsity eights taking the bronze medal in their respective events.

Princeton Tigers Win Women's Varsity Eight at NCAAs

As we predicted in our RR Top 20 article in March, the Princeton Tigers took home the gold medal in the varsity eight at the 2011 NCAA Rowing Championships yesterday, in an extremely close race with Cal, Stanford, and Brown all in the mix all the way across the line. Princeton took an early lead, but faced a strong challenge from Cal as they crossed the 1000m – this is where Princeton answered the question that we'd asked last week on RR: as the Tigers had lead every race all season without being pushed, how would they react when the field was upon them? Well, they answered, and took the event. Check out full coverage of the event on rowingnews.com, which features pictures and video interviews with Lauri Dauphiny of Princeton, Yaz Farooq of Stanford, and John Murphy of Brown, as well as athletes from Stanford (Susan Bryukhanov and Michelle Vezie), and Cal (Kara Kohler and Elise Etem).

Here, too, we picked 5 of 6 grand finalists. We also picked the winner and correctly took Stanford over Cal, but did not anticipate (nor did many) the excellent performance of Brown – the Bears were absolute racers all weekend, and took home their seventh NCAA team title.

Congrats to all crews, and stay tuned for our upcoming interview with UVa's Matt Miller on his season, winning UVa's first National Title, and preparing for Henley Royal Regatta this summer.

-RR

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