UW women's rowing fights wind, but finishes sixth as a team at national championships
Washington placed fifth in the varsity eight race, partially hampered by a fierce headwind in Indianapolis.
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INDIANAPOLIS — Washington senior Madison Culp had a simple reason why the final day of the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships on Sunday was a good one.
"I'm not wearing my raincoat today, so that's a good thing," Culp said. "This is the nicest weather we've had since we've been here."
A sixth-place finish in the team standings also didn't hurt the cause in making it a positive finale to the three-day championships at Eagle Creek Park, which saw several delays due to rain and wind.
Washington finished fifth in the varsity eight in 6 minutes, 25.97 seconds, and was somewhat hampered by starting in Lane 1, which was most susceptible to a headwind. California won the Grand Final.
"It would have been a little bit better to be on the other side of the course today, but they had their absolute best race of this regatta today and one of their best races of the year," Washington coach Bob Ernst said, "so you can't be too disappointed with that."
The Huskies edged USC in the varsity eight, reversing the results from the Pac-12 Championships.
"It was systematic," Culp said, "and we moved when our cox (Maddy Johnston) told us to move, and we were together. We were in our own tunnel very focused and we're very happy with ourselves. It was unfortunate we had the lane that we did, but I thought we dealt with the wind well."
Junior Patricia Obee said the varsity eight's performance came down to trust.
"I thought we kind of struggled in the first two races with the conditions of this regatta," Obee said. "It was our best race this weekend and possibly our best race of the year, which is what you want in the final of the nationals.
"We really locked into the girl in front of us and had a huge amount of trust to keep doing what we were doing to have a solid race."
Ohio State edged California, 126 points to 124, for the team championship. Princeton (112), USC (110), Virginia (108) and Washington (102) followed in the team standings.
The Huskies finished third in the varsity four race in 7:12.039, almost four seconds behind winner Ohio State.
"It was a real gut check, and they deserve the awards they're getting," Ernst said.
Washington took ninth in the second varsity eight race in 6:33.585.
Weather caused numerous delays during the three-day championships.
"We were jokingly calling the city Windyanapolis," Obee said. "We were expecting it to be windy but I didn't expect this."
Added Marie Strohmayer: "It's mentally tough because you have to stay in it and you can't just click out. Physically it was tough because in a headwind it's really hard and makes the race mentally more long."
Washington State finished 14th as a team, and the varsity eight boat also finished 14th. The Cougars' varsity four boat had the best finish with a sixth place.
• Western Washington finished third overall and fourth in the varsity eight at the Division II championships, also held at Eagle Creek Park.