SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers closed out the WIRA Championships with strong races from the women's team, seeing the varsity eight race in the petite final in the morning and the lightweight novices in a three boat final in the last race of the regatta. Head Coach Sam Taylor said of the weekend, "That was a great regatta, with excellent races for both our men's varsity four and women's varsity eight. Both boats exceeded our expectations and made big improvements from past races. We had some challenges and learning across the rest of the program; that said it's a young team and we're coming back with a lot of passion and excitement for what's next. A big thanks to our five seniors for their four years of rowing. They will be missed."
The varsity women placed fourth in the petite final, pulling almost an identical time to what they raced in the heats the previous day. They finished ninth in a field of 17 boats, topping conference rivals Mills and Pacific while also chasing down their closest competition from UC Davis.
The lightweight novices came down the course in the concluding race of the regatta, taking on UC Irvine and UC Davis in a three boat showdown to finish in third place. Only their third race of the season, the lightweights saw a huge improvement to their race, shaving more than 30 seconds off their time from the Northwest Conference Championships.
The women's varsity eight finished ninth out of a field of 17 boats, pulling a time of 7:26.395, just .18 seconds off of their heat time. They topped conference rival Mills by eight seconds, doubling the gap between the crews from the heats. The Pios graduate three seniors from the boat, coxswain Liana Clary, stroke seat Natalie Stroud and seven seat Camille Wong, but will see six rowers return for next year including rising junior Allie Traeger, top novice Kess Moulton, and the members of the women's novice four which won the conference championship, but were disqualified from racing on Saturday.
The women's lightweight novice four finished third in their small field of three, finally getting the chance to take on other lightweight novices from around the coast. They finished in a time of 9:01.522, shaving 36.422 seconds off of their race from the Northwest Conference Championships the previous week. Novice coach Alexia Ingerson said of the race, "I couldn't be prouder of the lightweight novice women. They made huge strides this last week and rowed an exceptionally aggressive race, ultimately taking almost 40 seconds off their time from last weekend. They gave it everything they had and were very happy with their hard work."
- The women's varsity eight had one of the best sprints of their season, walking up to beat Mills by eight seconds and open water, and finishing only a length down on UC Davis
- Six athletes from the varsity eight return giving the Pioneers a strong foundation to build on for next year
- The novice lightweights competed in their first race against other novice lightweights in a fairly niche category, improving by 36 seconds on their time from the NWC Championships
The Lewis & Clark Pioneers completed day one at the WIRA Championships with three boats advancing into petite finals. The men's varsity and lightweight fours went on to petites in the afternoon while the women's eight will race again Sunday morning. The men's novice four finished fifth out of seven in their heat, just missing out on advancing, while the women's novice four was disqualified from their race for being late to the start.
The Pioneers race two boats on Sunday starting with the women's varsity eight petite final and finishing with the lightweight novice women's four.
The women's eight was the first race of the day, and finished fourth in their heat. They will face conference rival Mills College in the petite Sunday morning.
The men's varsity four finished eighth out of a field of 18, clinching a second place finish in the petite final in one of their best races of the season. They came down the course in second place the whole way, managing to close the gap on UC Irvine from nine seconds in the heats to six seconds. Seniors Owen Wohlforth and Maggie Coit said it was the best race of the season, after taking a risk in pushing the rate up in order to try and advance their placement in the field.
The men's lightweight four had a tough heat, finishing in sixth by a 14 second margin but still advancing to the petite final. The boat had a strong race in their second go-around, starting off the line with closest rival Sonoma State, and holding even with them until the one thousand meter buoys. Although Sonoma was able to walk away in the second half of the race, the Pios closed the 14 second gap down to six seconds. Two-seat Christian Ermann doubled into the novice four race, making his final with the lightweights his third race of the day.
The men's novice four finished in fifth place in their seven boat heat, just missing out on qualifying for finals. The four, which has been rowing together all season, took some of their best strokes of the year, maintaining length while also driving up the rate to stay competitive.
The women's novice four had a heartbreaking day after being disqualified for being late to the start. The four was denied the chance to face off against conference rivals as the reigning NWC champions, but rowed hard back down the sideline, even sprinting through the finish. The four freshman rowers will double into the eight the following morning, giving them a chance at redemption on Sunday.
- The Pioneers will graduate five seniors: Coxswains Liana Clary and Maggie Coit, and rowers Natalie Stroud, Owen Wohlforth and Camille Wong
- Skylin Alcorn, Sarah Lind-MacMillan, Lindsay Woodward and Katie Crocker will double from the women's novice four into the women's eight, giving them a chance to redeem their disqualification in the novice four
- The women's varsity eight beat their Northwest Conference time by four seconds in their heaThe men's varsity four beat their time at the Northwest Conference Championships in both their heat and final
- Christian Ermann raced the most of all Pios, doubling between the novice men's four and the lightweight men's four for three races in one day
- Soren Gotschall and Jamie Valtin made huge improvements as stroke seats, with strong rhythm and aggressive ratings in a highly competitive field
The Pioneers conclude their season at the WIRA Championships.