The No. 5 Virginia rowing team advanced two boats to the grand finals at the NCAA Championships Saturday morning in Indianapolis, Ind.
The Cavalier Varsity Eight picked up a win in the semifinals, while the Varsity Four finished second in its semifinal to earn spots in the grand finals Sunday.
“We knew the Second Varsity Eight race was going to be a barn burner, and it certainly was with four boats within a second of each other,” UVa head coach Kevin Sauer said. “It was disappointing, but what a fantastic effort they had. Now it’s about how we respond. We’re looking to have all three boats row the race of their lives and walk out of here with our heads held high.”
In the Varsity Eight, UVa was challenged by California early, but a strong middle of the race pulled the Cavaliers away from top-seeded USC and the rest of the field. Virginia ended up winning in a time of 7:00.61, ahead of USC (7:05.99), California (7:09.36), UCLA, Brown and Stanford. On Sunday, the Cavaliers will look to win the Varsity Eight national title for the second consecutive year.
“It was a great race by the Varsity Eight,” Sauer said. “It was close early, but they established themselves in the second 500m and had a really solid row the second half of the race.”
In the Varsity Four, USC pulled out to a big lead, but UVa rowed a solid race and qualified for the grand final with a second-place finish (7:50.08). After the Trojans (7:44.82) and the Cavaliers, Washington State (7:52.48) was third, ahead of Princeton (7:52.69), Notre Dame and Michigan.