Starting Friday, May 30, the William Smith College rowing team will seek its first NCAA Division III National Championship on Lake Natoma in River Gold, Calif. The Herons, coached by Sandra Chu, will be making their seventh overall and second straight appearance in the NCAA Regatta. Co-hosts Cal and the Sacramento State Aquatic Center will provide live video coverage of the weekend’s racing. On May 30, the Heron varsity eight is scheduled to race in the second Division III heat at 9 a.m. PDT (noon EDT), while the second varsity eight is in the third heat 15 minutes later. The petite final and grand final qualifiers are scheduled for 1 p.m. (4 p.m.). On May 31, the third, petite, and grand level finals are scheduled at 15-minute intervals beginning at 10 a.m. (1 p.m.) with the awards ceremony at 11 a.m. (2 p.m.). Live splits and results (unofficial) will be provided by Jamco Times and a live webcast will be available on the regatta home page. The Herons will square off with Bates, Ithaca, Puget Sound, St. Lawrence, Trinity, and Williams for the national title, which is presented to the team with the highest combined score of its first and second varsity eight. The first varsity eights from Coast Guard and Washington College will also compete for the varsity eights national championship, but will not have a second boat in the regatta. The Heron varsity eight will be powered by sophomore coxswain Abbie DiPalma, senior stroke Hannah Gallup, junior Kerry O’Neill, senior Jessica Mahon, senior Lucinda Keck, junior Anne Wakeman, senior Jessica Wojslaw, junior Alexandra Bowers and senior Jenn Kirst. The second varsity eight will feature first-year coxswain Christine Babcock, first-year stroke Crary Chandler, junior Emily Maguire , first-year Alaria Pizzo, sophomore Jamie Billington, first-year Emily Downey, junior Caitlyn Holtz, sophomore Kirsten Cooper, and junior Katherine Faherty. The Herons finished second in both the varsity eight and second varsity eight events in the Liberty League Championships this season, while the second varsity eight earned a bronze medal in the New York State Championships. William Smith has competed in two previous NCAA Division III Championships (2002, 2007) and four NCAA all-division championships (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000). William Smith’s best finish was a third place showing in 2002’s inaugural DIII Championship. Last season, the Herons finished sixth in the team standings behind the varsity eight’s fifth place effort in the grand final.