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Originally published Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 8:03 PM

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UW women set to challenge at NCAA crew championships

Huskies coming off second-place finish in Pac-12s

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WEST WINDSOR, N.J. — Coming off a second-place finish at the Pacific-12 Championships, the Washington women's crew program begins its quest for NCAA honors Friday at Lake Mercer.

The competition between the 16 best crews in the country starts with heats Friday, then semifinals Saturday and the finals Sunday among the varsity eight shells, the second varsity eight shells and open four shells.

The Huskies have shown consistency and success at the NCAA level. They are one of only three programs that have qualified for the NCAA every year its been in existence for women, starting in 1997. Brown and Princeton are the other two programs.

The Huskies have won three NCAA overall team titles, with the last one coming in 2001. Last season, the Huskies finished eighth. The UW varsity eight squad has won its title race four times, with 2002 the most recent.

While the Huskies, ranked fifth in the country and coached by Bob Ernst with senior Veronica Tamsitt serving as team captain, might be traveling across the country for these races, the biggest competition could come from other Pac-12 schools. Top-ranked California won the Pac-12s, and USC nipped UW for second in the varsity eight race. Stanford and UCLA also are in the field.

The Ivy League also is represented by five programs with Brown and Princeton joined by Harvard, Yale and Cornell.

Michigan is second in the national poll and leads a Big Ten contingent featuring third-ranked Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

Virginia is ranked fourth and is the only representative from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

From team reports.

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