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May 27, 2012

Princeton, Yale Place in the Top 10 at the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships

2012 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships:
Schedule | Results | Live Video: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Portions courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications and Yale Sports Publicity
Photo courtesy of Jamie Schwaberow, NCAA Photos

WEST WINDSOR, N. J. -- Princeton put up a valiant effort to reach the medal stand with a fourth-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships on Lake Mercer.

The Tigers totaled 77 points on placing fifth in the varsity four grand final, fourth in the second varsity eight and varsity eight grand finals. Virginia captured its second NCAA title in three years with 87 points, followed by Michigan in second with 82 points and California in third with 78 points. Princeton has now placed in the top four in each of the last three NCAA Championships (third in 2010 and fourth in 2011).

For the first time in the 16 years of the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, the Ivy League did not place two teams in the top six in the final points standings as Yale ended the weekend in 10th with 38 points. Rounding out the Ivy contingent was Harvard (Radcliffe) in 12th with 32 points, Cornell in 13th with 31 points and Brown in 14th with 25 points.

Princeton placed its varsity eight in the grand final for the eighth time in nine years, including each of the last four. It continues an impressive run for head coach Lori Dauphiny, who has led the Tigers to the NCAA Championship regatta every year it has been held (since 1997).

"I thought that was their best performance," Dauphiny said of her top boat. "If you look at it, they were closer to both Michigan and USC than they were during the regular season. It shows that we increased speed during the year."

The Tigers' second varsity, which waited more than an hour to compete because of a weather delay, posted an impressive fourth-place finish in its grand final, which completed a season that also included a first-place finish at the inaugural Ivy League Women's Rowing Championship. The first bit of drama in the race came when UCLA, which looked like an early contender, caught a crab and came to a stop in the middle of the race.

That opened a Big Ten duel between Michigan and Ohio State, which the Wolverines won in 6:37.04. Ohio State fought off California for second in 6:38.94, while Princeton held off a push from Virginia to take fourth in 6:42.61.

It was the best finish for the second eights since 2003, when Princeton also finished fourth in the grand final. That finish helped the Tigers to a seventh-place team finish at that championship regatta.

The varsity four was the first grand final of the morning, and from the start, it was a showdown between Virginia and Ohio State for the individual gold. Virginia sprinted away from the field at the start, but Ohio State made up ground through the middle of the race.

Meanwhile, California established itself in third, and Princeton and Yale battled for fourth. The Tigers, who went undefeated during the Ivy League regular season, didn’t have enough to move past Yale in the final 300, and they ended up placing fifth in a time of 7:26.23.

The fifth-place finish was Princeton's best in the varsity fours since the Tigers placed fourth in the 2007 grand final. Yale finished a spot ahead of Princeton in varsity four grand final, narrowly missing a medal. The Bulldogs' varsity eight and second varsity eight each placed sixth in the petite finals. Yale ended the year in the top 10 in the national for the 10th time in the last 11 years.

"To be top 10 in the country is very respectable," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "I'm very proud of our effort. We would like to have raced a little better today, but it was the end of a long regatta and a long season."

2012 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships Team Results

  School Points
1. Virginia 87
2. Michigan 82
3. California 78
4. Princeton 77
5. Ohio State
67
6. Southern California
66
7. Washington 62*
8. UCLA 62
9. Stanford 40
10. Yale 38
11. Wisconsin 34
12. Harvard 32
13. Cornell 31
14. Brown 25
15. Notre Dame 20
16. Michigan State 15

*Washington finshed seventh by virtue of its higher finish in the varsity eight.