Complete WIRA Schedule (pdf)
GOLD RIVER, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's varsity eight, second varsity eight, novice eight and second novice eight each received a top four seed heading into this weekend's 35-school Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma.
The Hornets will attempt to win their fourth WIRA team championship (2006, 2007, 2009) in the last eight years. Last season, the Hornets claimed silver in both the second varsity eight and varsity four grand finals, and bronze in both the varsity eight and novice eight finals. It marked just the second time in school history that Sacramento State was able to medal in each of the regatta's four most prestigious races (varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity four and novice eight). The Hornets narrowly missed out on winning a conference championship, finishing second with 338 total points. That mark trailed Gonzaga's point total of 344.
The WIRA regatta is the biggest event of the season for Sacramento State and serves as the team's conference championship. This weekend will mark the final time that WIRAs will serve as the Hornets' conference championship, as the program will join Conference USA next season.
Saturday's schedule consists of 42 races (17 on the women's side, 25 on the men's side) beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing until approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday's competition, which includes the grand final for every event, consists of 27 races (14 on the women's side, 13 on the men's side) beginning at 8 a.m. and running until 12:30 p.m. The awards ceremony will take place at approximately 1 p.m.
A total of eight schools will challenge for this year's Div. I varsity eight championship, consisting of No. 1 seed Loyola Marymount, No. 2 Stanford Lightweights, No. 3 Saint Mary's, No. 4 Sacramento State, No. 5 Gonzaga, No. 6 San Diego State, No. 7 Seattle and No. 8 Santa Clara. Two heats of four boats will compete at 10:50 and 11 a.m. on Saturday with the top three finishers from each race competing in the grand final on Sunday at 12:20 p.m. The Hornets will face Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga and Santa Clara in its heat on Saturday at 10:50 a.m.
Over the last 14 years in varsity eight action, the Hornets' top boat has four first-place finishes (2000-01, 2006, 2010), four second-place finishes (1999, 2002, 2004, 2009), three third-place finishes (2005, 2011-12), a pair of fourth places finishes (2003, 2007) and a sixth-place finish in 2008.
This year's Hornet varsity eight currently has an 8-5 dual-meet record, but four of those losses have come against crews ranked in the CRCA/USRowing Coaches top 20 poll. Other dual-meet records for Sacramento State boats include the second varsity eight (7-5), novice eight (6-5) and second novice eight (1-1).
Last year's WIRA varsity eight grand final saw the top three boats finish within 2.5 seconds of each other. Gonzaga won with a time of 6:43.5, followed by Saint Mary's (6:45.5) and Sacramento State (6:46.0) to round out the top three in a six-boat field.
Sacramento State's second varsity eight earned the No. 1 seed this year, and has medaled in its grand final eight times in the last 11 years. Sacramento State's novice eight is the No. 3 seed, and the boat will look to medal for the sixth time since 2005.
Besides the varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight, the Hornets will also compete a pair of boats in the second novice eight grand final on Sunday.
Women's grand final times (that Sacramento State will or could be competing) on Sunday include the second novice eight (9:20 a.m.), novice eight (10 a.m.), second varsity eight (10:50 a.m.) and varsity eight (12:20 p.m.).
A complete schedule of the WIRA Championships can be found by clicking here or on the link on top of the story.