April 26, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara men and women's crew teams are up for a weekend of championship races as they head to Lake Natoma where the West Coast Conference Championships and Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships will be held in Sacramento.
The Bronco women will begin competition on Friday, April 27 at the WCC Championships where they will be rowing against crews from Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, San Diego and Saint Mary's. Loyola Marymount returns to the water after claiming the conference title last year, ending Gonzaga's nine-year winning streak.
Last year, the Broncos' varsity eight boat finished in third place with an impressive time of 6:46.7, six seconds off Loyola Marymount's pace in first, and less than four seconds behind Gonzaga's second place pace. Earlier that day, Santa Clara's second varsity eight and varsity four boats came in fifth in their respective races. Overall, Santa Clara came in fourth place earning 12 points, only one point behind Saint Mary's third place finish.
The Broncos will look to improve upon their overall fourth-place finish in last year's championships, coming off of a pair of strong finishes at the San Diego Crew Classic and at the Lexington Cup in Los Gatos.
The varsity four race will begin the action Friday at 12 p.m., with the II-Eight race set for a 12:20 p.m. start, and finally, at 12:40 p.m., the I-Eight race. Points will be awarded to the schools based on their finishes in the three races, and the school with the highest point total will be declared the WCC champions. In the event of a tie atop the points leaderboard, the championship will go to the team that finished highest in the I-Eight race.
Following the Friday's races, the men will join the women at Lake Natoma for the WIRA Championships set to begin on Saturday, April 28 at 8 a.m. and finish in the afternoon on Sunday, April 29. This competition gathers crews from many schools in different collegiate divisions on the west coast.
In the women's varsity eight competition last year, the Broncos pulled a time of 7:00.6 on Saturday, good for a sixth place finish in their heat. In the petite finals on Sunday, they were able to shave off 14 seconds for a fourth place finish of 7:46.7, four seconds off pace of the first place boat from Puget Sound, two seconds off from second place from UC Santa Barbara, and only one second behind San Diego.
The Bronco men also turned out an impressive performance last year, pulling in sixth place in their heat with a time of 6:28.8 on Saturday. The men cut down their time by six seconds on Sunday in the Third Final for a third place finishing time of 6:20.5, about 11 seconds behind first place Lewis & Clark, and eight seconds off pace from Puget Sound in second place.