Dispatch from the course from Head Coach Sam Taylor:
It's been a great day of racing on the first day of the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, with three of our crews making the Grand Finals in their events, as far as I can recall the most we've ever had here at WIRA.
Kicking it off for us was the Men's Varsity Four, who finished a solid second in their heat behind UC Santa Barbra to advance through to the Grand. The guys had a really nice piece, fully aggressive for the first thousand meters and then shutting it down a bit once they saw they had the 2nd place tied up and making the strategic choice not to sprint for first. Two members of this crew- coxswain Conrad Foord and 3-seat Teddy Stenmark- finished 2nd in this race last year and that experience will be invaluable in the final.
The Pioneers Novice men's four kept the momentum rolling, winning their heat ahead of California Maritime Academy with both crews advancing to the Grand. These guys had one of their best rows of the year when it counted, and we're very excited to see if they can improve on that yet again for the final.
The Novice Women's four went bow to bow with our NCRC Conference rival Puget Sound all the way down the course, with the Loggers edging ahead at the finish but again with both crews advancing to the Grand Final.
Finishing up the day of racing was the Pioneer Varsity Women's Eight, who finished fourth in their heat and will race in the Petite Final Sunday for places 7-12. The eight had a good race, bow-to-bow with Pacific Lutheran all the way down the course, and as it shook out they had a little more speed in the last couple hundred meters and took a few seats out of us just before the line. The good news is that we have the opportunity to make some changes tonight and see if we can defend our 7th place finish from last year's WIRA champs, and then make a few more changes this coming week and gain some speed for the NCRC Championships May 4th.
Check back tomorrow for a report from the Finals and full race results.