Women's rowing competes for third straight NCAA title beginning Friday morning

The Bates women's rowing team's second varsity eight races on May 31 at 8:12am to begin the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships in Indianapolis. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

INDIANAPOLIS -- The No. 1 nationally ranked Bates women's rowing team officially begins its attempt to win a third consecutive NCAA Division III title on Friday morning, as the Bobcats' first and second varsity eights compete in trial heats.

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The DIII championships are taking place May 31-June 1 at the Indianapolis Rowing Center at Eagle Creek Park, with Indiana University and the Indiana Sports Corporation serving as hosts. The championships are comprised of eight teams and each team is required to field two boats of eight rowers and a coxswain. Bates won automatic qualification by winning its third straight NESCAC championship on May 12 at the National Invitational Rowing Championships.

The competition standing in the way of Bates' fourth NCAA title in the past five years will come from seven other teams: Ithaca, Washington College, WPI, Hamilton, Pacific Lutheran, Wellesley and Wesleyan.

The Bobcats will get their feet wet right away on Friday morning. Bates' second varsity eight (W2V8) will race in Heat 1 in the first race of the day, going head-to-head with WPI, Pacific Lutheran and Washington College. Bates will attempt to be one of the top two boats in that race and automatically advance to the "II Eights" Grand Final, taking place Saturday at 11:12am. The other two will move on to the II Eights repechage Friday afternoon. *NOTE: Course conditions have delayed Friday's racing. The first race is now scheduled for 4pm.

Shortly after their W2V8 teammates finish, Bates' WV8 will race in the "I Eights" first heat against Ithaca, Wesleyan and Washington, with race time set for 8:36am. As with the W2V8s, the top two boats in the heat will advance to the Grand Final, which will conclude the Division III Championship regatta on Saturday at 11:36am. Team points accumulated in Saturday's 1V and 2V grand finals and petite finals will be added up to determine the 2019 NCAA champion.

Bates WV8 lineup: Bow: Grace Smith; 2: Emma Wheeler; 3: Grace Bake; 4: Catharine Berry-Toon; 5: Hannah Beams; 6: Sally Harris Porter; 7: Hannah Fitts; Stroke: Lena Rintell; c: Elizabeth Folsom

Bates W2V8 lineup: Bow: Saylor Strugar; 2: Claudia Glickman; 3: Lillian Kinder; 4: Sophie Claus; 5: Emma York; 6: Elizabeth Fischer; 7: Phoebe Long; Stroke: Grace Murnaghan; c: Maya Seshan 

Alternates: Elizabeth Fairman, Elise Grossfeld (cox), Carla Guichard