May 19, 2004
INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Committee announced Tuesday that a record four Big Ten rowing squads will be among the 12 teams competing at the 2004 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships.
Big Ten champion Michigan will join Conference squads Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin on May 28-30 at the California State University-Sacramento Aquatic Center in Sacramento, Calif.
This year marks just the second time in Conference history that four Big Ten schools will be competing at the NCAA Championships. At the 2001 NCAA Championships, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Iowa represented the Conference.
The Big Ten and the tradition-rich Ivy League (Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Yale) share the honor of having the most teams represented this year by one conference with four each.
The team championship is 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 are selected.
The selection of teams and individual boats was based on eligibility and availability of student-athletes; regional championship results; regional rankings; late-season performance; head-to-head results; results against teams/boats already selected; results against common opponents; and results against regionally ranked teams/boats. One team from each region was selected and the remaining seven teams were selected at-large.
No. 3 Michigan, which is coming off its fourth Big Ten title in five years, and a third-place showing at the Lexus Central/South Region Sprints last weekend, will appear in its seventh consecutive national championship in the program's eight-year history.
In 2001, the second varsity eight won an individual boat national title when U-M posted a program-high second-place overall finish. Last year, the first varsity eight posted a runner-up finish which helped Michigan to a fourth-place finish overall. Michigan's other national finishes include fifth place on three occasions (1998, 1999, 2000) and eighth place once (2002).
Fifth-ranked Ohio State enters its fifth-consecutive appearance at the NCAA championships on the heels of its second-straight central regional title.
Last season, the Buckeyes finished eighth overall at NCAAs, led by a third-place finish in the Petite Final and a ninth-place national finish with their first varsity eight boat. Ohio State's second varsity eight ended its season sixth and the first varsity four finished fourth as a team. Ohio State finished fifth in 2002, fourth in 2001 and ninth in 2000.
No. 10 Wisconsin earned its first NCAA bid since 1999 and just the second in school history.
The Badgers placed second at the Big Ten Championships this year, taking third in the varsity eight. Last weekend, the team finished third overall and second among Central region schools at the Central/South Region NCAA Qualifier.
Wisconsin has succeeded this season with a very young program, as at one point on the year, five sophomores commanded the varsity eight. A total of 10 sophomores and a pair of first-year rowers made up 12 of Wisconsin's 23 rowers that competed in the three NCAA boats - the varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four - at last week's regional.
The 11th-ranked Michigan State varsity crew program earned its fifth-ever team bid to NCAAs, marking a perfect 7-for-7 in qualifying at least one boat for the national championships since the program's inception in 1998.
In 2002, the Spartans placed ninth as a team, led by a fourth-place finish from the second varsity eight, marking the highest national finish ever for any MSU boat. Last year, the Spartans placed 11th as a team, as the first varsity eight finished 13th, the second varsity eight placed 10th and the first varsity four finished ninth.
The following teams were selected to compete at this year's NCAA Women's Rowing Championships: