Big Ten Rowing NCAA Championships Preview

May 28, 2008

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Three Big Ten teams have been selected to compete in the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships this weekend.  Big Ten Champion Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin will participate in this year's team event which will take place May 30 - June 1.  Michigan's first varsity eight received an at-large bid as one of the eight-women boats that will compete.  The Championships will be hosted by the University of California Berkeley at Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif.

This marks the 10th appearance overall for Michigan State, and its eighth since the Big Ten began sponsoring women's rowing in 2000.  MSU's last appearance came in 2006 when it captured sixth place as a team, the best finish in program history.  The Spartans were crowned Big Ten Champions on May 3, and are currently ranked No. 6 in the country.  Following the conference championships, Michigan State swept the Big Ten's postseason individual awards as head coach Matt Weise was named Coach of the Year, Anne Cowan was Athlete of the Year and Laura Cowal was honored as Freshman of the Year. 

Ohio State makes its ninth-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championships, and the 10th overall for the program.  A year ago, the Buckeyes finished a program-record third place in the NCAA Championships.  The first varsity eight led the way by finishing second in the 2007 Grand Final race, which stands as the best placing by an OSU boat in program history in the national event.  The Buckeyes took third place in this year's Big Ten Championships and currently stand at No. 16 in the nation.

Wisconsin is making its fifth trip to the NCAA Championships, and the fourth time in the last five years.  The Badgers placed second at this year's Big Ten Championships and rank 13th in the national poll.  UW finished a program-best eighth place in 2006, which was the team's last visit to the NCAA Championships.  That year, Wisconsin's second varsity eight took home the bronze to capture the program's first medal at the Championships.

The first varsity eight of Michigan received an at-large bid to this year's NCAA Championships.  The Wolverines will compete against the 15 other crews for a chance to win the first varsity eight national championship. The first varsity eight boat placed third in this year's Big Ten Championships Grand Final race, just six seconds behind the leader, and it was also named Big Ten Boat of the Week on April 22.
 
The team championships are comprised of 12 teams and each team is required to field two boats of eight rowers and one boat of four rowers. In addition, four eight-women boats from institutions not represented in the team competition were selected.

The following teams were selected to complete at this year's NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships:

TEAMS
Brown, California, Harvard, Michigan State, Ohio State, Princeton, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Washington State, Wisconsin, Yale

AT-LARGE EIGHTS
Clemson, Michigan, Southern California, Stanford