Second varsity eight wins gold as women's rowing finishes national runner-up at NCAA Championships

Bates accepts their sixth national runner-up trophy in program history on May 28, 2016. (NCAA Photo)

GOLD RIVER, Calif. -- The Bates women's second varsity eight took home their third consecutive gold medal at the NCAA Rowing Championships on Saturday as the Bobcats' two crews combined to finish second overall to national champion Wellesley. 

Led by coxswain Abigail Bierman '17 (Bethlehem, N.Y.) and stroke Julia Mason '17 (Niskayuna, N.Y.), the second varsity eight left no doubt in their dominating performance in the grand final. They rowed to the finish in 6:50.927, about nine seconds ahead of runner-up Wellesley. 

For the second straight day, the W2V8 led wire-to-wire in their victory. The Bobcats led by about four seconds after the first 500 meters, finishing that segment of the 2K race in an outstanding 1:39.312. Their lead only grew as the race went on as they crossed the finish line well ahead of both Wellesley and third place Williams. In fact, they beat the Ephs by nearly 16 seconds.

The victory gave Bates 12 points in the team standings.

But in the first varsity eight grand final, the Blue of Wellesley took command from the start. They went toe-to-toe with Williams and Wesleyan but the Blue never trailed, taking home the gold medal. Combined with their 10 points from the second varsity eight grand final, the Blue's total of 40 points earned them the national title. 

Williams finished second in the WV8 grand final and Wesleyan finished third. Meanwhile, Bates finished fourth with a time of 6:50.996, a little more than four seconds behind the Blue (6:46.100).

Despite the fourth place finish, Bates picked up 24 points because third-place Wesleyan only had one boat entered in the regatta. They could only medal, not pick up any points. 

When the dust cleared, Bates' total of 36 points clipped Williams by one point for second place in the national championships. The Ephs got 27 points for their second place finish in the WV8 grand final but only picked up 8 points for their third place finish in the W2V8 grand final. 

This marks the third gold medal for junior Molly Pritz (Ithaca, N.Y.), and the second for Mason and Bierman. 

This is the sixth national runner-up finish in program history, the previous five came in a row from 2009 through 2013. Bates finished third in 2014 and won the national championship last year. 

Bates Boatings for the 2016 NCAA Championships:

WV8: Bow: Laura Rand '18 (Barrington, R.I.)Alison Simmons '16 (Indiana, Pa.), Emma Conover '16 (Camden, Maine), Emma Taylor '16 (Scituate, Mass.)Rosemary Kyne '18 (Nashville, Tenn)Olivia Stockly '18 (Cumberland, Maine)Emilie Muller '16 (Concord, N.H.); Stroke: Lena Rintell '19 (Brookline, Mass.); Cox: Katherine Traquina '17 (Wayland, Mass.)

W2V8: Bow: Margaux Joselow '16 (Manchester, N.H.), Grace Jurkovich '18 (St. Paul, Minn.), Sophia Merelas '18 (Pelham, N.Y.), Kiera Degener-O'Brien '16 (Portland, Ore.), Ella Bourland '19 (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Phoebe Long '19 (Riverside, Conn.), Molly Pritz '17 (Ithaca, N.Y.); Stroke: Julia Mason '17 (Niskayuna, N.Y.), Cox: Abigail Bierman '17 (Bethlehem, N.Y.)

Alternate #1: Sophia Gottlieb '17 (Bow, N.H.)
Alternate #2: Amelia Wilhelm '18 (Charlotte, N.C.)
Alternate Cox: Hanna De Bruyn '18 (Old Lyme, Conn.)