RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. -- Ryan LaVigne and Natalie Stroud won the women's pair for the Lewis & Clark Pioneers in the final day of the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Championships on Sunday. Clearing the field by over 10 seconds at Lake Natoma, LaVigne and Stroud were one of three Pioneers boats competing in grand finals.
"I was so pleased to see our women's team perform in the small boats," said Lewis & Clark head coach Sam Taylor. "We set the goal last fall to race for a win in the women's pair and race for a medal in the women's double. They've put in a ton of hard work over the year, fitting practices in around our time in the eight. It was awesome to see all that work pay off on the day.
"The men's pair field was faster then ever. Sam and Owen executed perfectly and came to the line sprinting for all they were worth."
The men's team was within a second of fifth place as the final three boats crossed nearly at the same time.
LaVigne and Stroud, both former All-Northwest Conference selections, crossed the finish in 8:37.141 to outpace the UC-Davis team's time of 8:47.023. Central Oklahoma placed third at 8:47.501 followed by Puget Sound (8:49.685) and Santa Clara (8:49.769).
Along with LaVigne, Copp and Garber were women's seniors competing on the final day.
"I'm so proud of the seniors on this team and this regatta was a great send off for them," said Taylor. "They've been through some good times and challenging times, but these seven Pioneers have been devoted to the team and stuck with it no matter what."
Lewis & Clark placed third in the B final of the women's varsity eight with a time of 7:13.945. The Pios trailed California's lightweight team by just under two seconds. Humboldt State won in 6:58.400.
"They used a strong middle thousand and an even faster finish to move up through the field, passing UC Davis with just ten strokes to go," said Taylor about the race.
Mills and Oregon rounded out the finishers in the women's varsity eight.
Three boats advanced to grand finals for the Lewis & Clark Pioneers after the first day of racing at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships at Lake Natoma on Saturday.
In total, four boats will race in Sunday's final day.
Ryan LaVigne and Natalie Stroud, both former All-Northwest Conference selections, advanced in the women's sweep pair, while Ashley Garber and Charlotte Copp moved ahead in the women's sculling pair. LaVigne and Stroud won their heat in 9:26.809, nearly 16 seconds faster than the second-place team. They finished with about the same time as the team from Santa Clara, which won the second heat. Copp and Garber took second in their heat with a time of 9:04.508, less than 10 seconds off the lead. The duo had faster times than boats from UC-Davis, Humboldt State, Long Beach State and UC-Santa Barbara.
Owen Wohlforth and Samuel Makikalli finished in second by about three seconds in the men's sweep pair with a time of 8:06.232. The Pios will race against teams from UCLA, Arizona State, Seattle, UC-Irvine, Loyola Marymount and UC-Santa Barbara on Sunday in the grand final. Seattle posted the best preliminaries time of 7:42.428.
The women's second varsity eight will also compete on Sunday in the B final. The Pioneers had the eighth-fastest time on the day to finish outside the needed top six to reach the grand final. Lewis & Clark posted a 7:16.223 to beat out conference mates Mills and Pacific plus California lightweight.
The men's varsity four finished fourth in their heat at 7:21.710, while the novice four was also fourth in 8:09.700.
Video of the racing is being streamed online (http://lcpioneers.com/links/jmblbi).