May 18, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's rowing program will make its first-ever appearance as a team at the NCAA Championships the weekend of May 28-30 in Gold River, Calif., at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center.
The Bruins learned of their NCAA Championship berth when the 16 teams were revealed online at ncaasports.com on Tuesday afternoon.
UCLA, ranked No. 12 nationally on the latest top-20 poll (USRowing), raced to a fifth-place team finish at Pac-10 Championships on Sunday, May 16. The Bruins' varsity eight finished fourth, UCLA's varsity four earned a third-place finish and the second varsity eight and the novice eight each placed sixth.
"Everybody has worked so hard with this goal in mind," head coach Amy Fuller Kearney said. "Our coaching staff is really proud of how this team has helped our program turn the corner. For us, this is just the beginning."
Each of 16 teams selected to compete at the NCAA Championships will race two varsity eight crews and one varsity four boat. UCLA will be joined at the NCAA Championships at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center by five Pac-10 schools, including at-large selections Stanford, USC, Washington and Washington State and conference champion California.
The NCAA Championships format features a weighted point system, whereby the varsity eight is awarded more points (36 points) for a top finish than the second varsity eight (24 points) or varsity four crews (12 points).
"For our three NCAA boats to get another chance to race is really exciting," Fuller Kearney said. "Our varsity four had a great row at Pac-10 Championships last weekend. And our varsity eight had a good fourth-place finish. Our second varsity has another shot to go out there and show everybody how hard they can race. We're going to go up there in two weeks and race our hearts out."
The Bruins' varsity eight will race in Heat No. 3 on Friday, May 28, against Clemson, Ohio State, Princeton, Tennessee and Virginia. UCLA's second varsity will compete in Heat No. 3 versus Brown, Michigan, Ohio State, USC and Washington. The varsity four crew will race in Heat No. 2 against USC, Washington, Washington State and Yale.
UCLA had previously sent its top varsity eight boat as an "at-large" selection to the NCAA Championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007. This spring marks the first time in which the Bruins have earned a team selection (two eights, one four) to the NCAA Championships.