Women's openweights qualify for NCAA Championships

Badgers will send three boats to California May 28-30

The No. 10 Wisconsin women's openweight rowing team earned one of 12 team invitations for NCAA Rowing Championships Tuesday. The Badgers, who will be making their second trip to the NCAA meet in program history, will compete in Rancho Cordova, Calif., May 28-30. Wisconsin also made the Championships in 1999. Women's openweight crew first became an NCAA-sanctioned sport in 1997.


"We kind of expected it, but it's nice to have confirmation," interim director of women's crew Sue Ela said. "One's goal is to go to the NCAA Championship every year. This year's team deserves, maybe more than any other, to go because of how hard they've worked and how unified they've been in reaching their goal and showing themselves and the world it could be done. With that invitation they are on their way, but now the job is to be prepared to race and win."


The Badgers opened the season ranked No. 19 in the preseason Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/USRowing Poll, but steadily climbed to their current position among the nation's top-10 teams.


Wisconsin placed second at the 2004 Big Ten Rowing Championships May 1, taking third in the varsity eight. Then the team finished third overall and second among Central
Region schools at the Central/South Region NCAA Qualifier last weekend.


In the Badgers' 1999 NCAA appearance, the UW collected 10 points for its 10th-place finish. Wisconsin's best result came in the varsity four, where it claimed sixth place. The UW second varsity eight finished 10th, while the varsity eight placed 13th.


In addition to Wisconsin, selections to this year's NCAA championships include Big Ten schools Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State from the Central region, Virginia from the South region, Washington, Washington State and California from the West region, Princeton from the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as defending-champion Harvard, Brown and Yale from the New England region. Schools receiving only varsity eight invitations include Notre Dame from the Central, Tennessee and Texas from the South and Southern California from the West.


Racing at the NCAA Rowing Championships will take place at CSUS Aquatic Center, located in Rancho Cordova, Calif. Sacramento State will play host to the event. Each of the 12 team qualifiers will send a varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four into competition.


"This was a benchmark, but we certainly have our work to do in the next week and a half," added Ela. "Everybody contributed to the success up to right now, but in the same light, when you face the top crews in the country you have to be at your best so the challenge continues."

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