Monday, November 2, 2015

NCAA, IRA, and ACRA College Rowing Power Rankings, Fall 2015


The fall racing season is winding down in 2015, and we're drawing ever closer to winter training. So, what better time than now to reflect on the fall's best performances, and take a closer look at some of the top teams heading into the 'long, dark tea-time of the soul?' Here are the top men's and women's crews at the college level, according to our power rankings.

Women's NCAA Division I Rankings:

1. California
We expected the Golden Bears to be great in Boston, but they were more than that. Winning the Women's Championship Eight from a starting position of 32nd overall, and passing four crews to do it is no small task. Also, it wasn't close—Cal won in 15:58.63, nearly 25 seconds ahead of second place Brown (and, Cal was without sophomore Caleigh Filmer, who was busy winning the pair at Canadian nationals over all the women in the Canadian senior eight the week prior to the Charles...).

2. Ohio State University
While Ohio State didn't show their hand in the fall, they've got a strong roster and an outstanding staff that added Olympic champion Anna Goodale to its ranks—there's still plenty of reason to fear the Buckeye.

3. Brown
Not far behind the leaders this fall have been the Brown Bears—in fact, they missed a first overall finish in Princeton by a little less than 0.6 of a second (14:39.83 to UVa's 14:39.26).

4. Virginia
The Hoos had another outstanding fall—a habit for them these days—and nowhere was that clearer than on Lake Carnegie yesterday, where they placed three crews in the top 10 overall at the Princeton Chase.

5. Washington
The Husky women didn't travel east for the Charles, but cleaned up at the Head of the American, and have another strong roster from top to bottom.

6. Stanford
Strong results at the Head of the American, plus a solid roster that includes freshman Elizabeth Sharis, who took eighth in the Women's Championship Single at the Head Of The Charles.

7. Yale
Yale had one of the strongest showings at the Head Of The Charles, placing fifth and 11th with their top two crews, and then backed that up with a third- and seventh-place finish at the Chase.

8. Princeton
The Tigers are always in the mix, and this year won't be any different. Princeton took fourth place at both the Charles and the Chase, and will likely be competing for the Ivy League title once again in 2016.

9. Texas
The Longhorns are coming off a historically good season, but that was just the first go around for still-pretty-new head coach Dave O'Neill.

10. Michigan
The Wolverines have been in the conversation more often than not over the past five years, and despite slipping a little with their top crew to seventh overall in Boston, they also moved up the ranks with their second eight from 22nd to 14th.

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Men's IRA Heavyweight Rankings:

1. Yale
The Elis made a statement at Henley Royal Regatta last summer, defeating the IRA champion Huskies en route to a Ladies' Challenge Plate victory, and they kept that momentum going with a win on the Charles—with a lineup that is arguably improved from last year's (nearly undefeated) campaign.

2. California
The Cal Bears have a ton of young talent, not least of which comes in the form of 2015 RoRy Award winner for Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year, Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk. Also, they're deep—the Cal frosh took sixth in the varsity-level event at the Chase yesterday.

3. Princeton
The Tigers have been building momentum ever since Greg Hughes took over from the lightweight side, and their win on their home course at the Chase was certainly impressive, given the pedigree of the field. Like Cal, they also have depth to push the top end.

4. Washington
The Huskies lost some strong leaders to graduation following their fifth straight IRA title last year, but then again, they do love being underdawgs, and have one of the best coaches in all of collegiate rowing at the helm.

5. Harvard
The Crimson looked solid on their home course at the Head Of The Charles, taking third overall, and will be looking to bounce back this year after an up-and-down season in 2014-2015.

6. Brown
Brown is Brown—deep, hardworking, and gritty racers. Also, as usual, it will be about finding the top end speed at the right time.

7. Cornell
Big Red took ninth at the Head Of The Charles, and posted a very impressive result yesterday in Princeton, finishing just over one second behind Yale.

8. Boston University
The Terriers have been in and out of the top ten over the past several seasons, and once again posted a series of strong fall results—will they translate to spring racing?

9. Northeastern
The 'other' Huskies are scratching and clawing to remain in the mix, and based on their 10th-place finish at the Charles, they're holding on well, following a season that saw them take sixth overall at IRAs in the varsity eight.

10. Stanford
The Cardinal are a bit of a wildcard—they have a great deal of young talent and horsepower, but putting it all together will be tricky. Still, this could be one of those crews for head coach Craig Amerkhanian.

IRA Men's Lightweight Rankings:

1. Cornell
2. Columbia
3. Princeton

IRA Women's Lightweight Rankings:

1. Radcliffe
2. Stanford
3. Boston University

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ACRA Men's Heavyweight Rankings:

1. Michigan
The Wolverines continue to be the gold standard for ACRA rowing, having won another title in the men's varsity eight last year, and sent a number of athletes to the World University Games in Chungju, South Korea over the summer. So far, the Wolverines have kicked off the fall with a 15th-place finish in the Men's Championship Eight at the Head Of The Charles, while their second eight finished 16th of 41 in the Men's Collegiate Eight in Boston.

2. Delaware
The Blue Hens have been coming on strong for the past two seasons, and they kicked this year off with a bang at the Charles, taking second overall in the Men's Collegiate Eight behind Hobart.

3. Virginia
The Cavaliers are a perennial contender in the ACRA ranks, and this year looks to be no different, as they also posted solid results in Boston, taking fifth in the Men's Collegiate Eight and third in the Men's Collegiate Four.

4. UC Santa Barbara
The quarter-system school had the strongest overall season (women and men combined) at last year's ACRA National Championship Regatta, and the Gaucho men got the fall season off to a great start at the Head Of The Charles, moving up seven places to take seventh overall.

5. Grand Valley State University
The Lakers have been the chief competition in the varsity eight for Michigan and UVa over the past several seasons, and with standout Austin Gentry returning to the ranks, that's not likely to change anytime soon.

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Stay tuned throughout the season for updates to our power rankings via our Rankings page, where you can also find historical rankings, and championship previews and reviews.

-RR

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