The Lady Vols pushed the Trojans, finishing just a second in back of USC. Yale came in third, a half-length behind Tennessee. The finish topped last year's Second Eights group for the best in UT's annals.
The First Eights crew, ranked 10th in the country coming in to the weekend, bettered that by a spot in the final race of the year for UT. The shell, powered by senior coxswain Stephanie Davis (Martin, Tenn.), sophomore Erin-Monique Shelton (Upper Hutt, New Zealand), juniors Renee Brittle (Dublin, Va.) and Krista Gearing (Fenwick, Ontario), senior Rachel Mayberry (Woodbridge, Va.), juniors Jessica Ayers (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Nina Dobratz (Portland, Ore.), senior Sarah Hutcheson (Orlando, Fla.) and junior Mary Jones (Huntsville, Ala.) charged ahead in the final 500 meters to overtake No. 7 Stanford and finish third in the petite final. Minnesota (6:43.53) edged Dartmouth (6:43.95), who just held off the Orange and White's entry. The ninth-place result is just one in back of the program's top finish of eighth in 2005.
The first Division I race of the day saw the Big Orange rank third in the Fours petite final. Tennessee's crew of freshman Roshauna Singh (Vienna, Va.), senior Kristen Galloway (Knoxville, Tenn.), freshman Erin Gray (Wuerzburg, Germany), senior Heather Hill (Knoxville, Tenn. ) and junior Marisa Mohan (San Diego, Calif.) tied the program's best finish at nationals with a 7:54.18 time, a half-length better than Ohio State. Southern California took the race with a more than five-second advantage over Minnesota.
The ninth-place finish overall for Tennessee improved from the squad's 12th-place showing in the first team appearance last year in West Windsor, N.J.
"I'm very pleased for the team with their accomplishment today," said Tennessee head coach Lisa Glenn. "It has been a very solid year for our team. I couldn't be happier for this group of young women in the rowing program to have gotten themselves into the top 10 in the national championships. It was great to work with them all year."
While looking back at the year, Glenn specifically wanted to laud the seniors for their job well done. Five Lady Vols rowed their last race today in the First Eights and Fours, and the coach was especially high on their work.
"Our four-year seniors did a fantastic job of really having things in perspective and helping me with getting our team to where we need to be. I'm very proud of them. They accomplished a lot. They should feel good about the work that they have done in the program."
Brown captured its fifth national title despite not winning a final during the day. Virginia took its second Fours crown, while the Second Eights (Minnesota) and First Eights (Yale) both were won for the first time by those programs. The Bears won the team trophy with a four-point advantage over the Cavaliers.