Four Teams Earn Bids to 2009 NCAA Championships

Erika Benford and the OSU Buckeyes will vie for their first NCAA team title, May 29-31.

May 20, 2009

The Big Ten will field four programs in the 2009 NCAA Rowing Championships in Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin, as announced Tuesday afternoon by the NCAA Division I Rowing Committee. The conference currently touts the same four teams ranked in the USRowing/CRCA Coaches Poll.  No. 3 Michigan State leads all schools, followed by No.6 Michigan, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 14 Wisconsin. Iowa and Minnesota round out the top-20, checking in at No. 17 and No. 19, respectively.  All four big ten squads will be in the hunt for their first national team title.

Villanova will serve as host to this year’s national regatta, slated to take place Friday through Sunday, May 29-31, on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J. A web cast of all NCAA Championships races will be available at ncaa.com.

The team championships are comprised of 16 teams and each team is required to field two boats of eight rowers and one boat of four rowers. This year marks the first time the field will feature 16 teams, rather than the 12 teams with four at-large varsity eight boats as in previous years. Joining the Big Ten quartet amongst the field of 16 will be with Brown, California, Clemson, Dartmouth, Harvard, Oregon State, Princeton, Southern California, Stanford, Virginia, Washington and Yale.

The Spartans earn their seventh full-team bid in the last eight seasons and ninth overall. MSU tied its top finish at last year’s event, finishing in sixth place in the team competition while garnering fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the varsity four and varsity eight races, respectively. The Spartans have now earned a total 11 trips to the NCAA Championships since becoming a varsity sport in 1998.

The Wolverines prepare to make their ninth appearance in the national regatta in 13 years of varsity status. U-M enters the event on the heels of capturing the Central Region title on May 17 at the Central/South Region Springs in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The Buckeyes look to make their 10th consecutive appearance to the NCAA Championship event, and 11th overall. In the 14-year history of Ohio State rowing, the Scarlet and Gray own a program-best third-place finish as a team at the national regatta, accomplished in 2007 in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The Badgers garner their fifth bid in six seasons and hope to improve on last year’s NCAA performance when the squad placed 10th in Gold River, Calif. In 2006, the Badgers placed eighth as a team, the school’s highest finish to date.