GOLD RIVER, Calif.—William Smith finished fifth in the NCAA Division III Rowing Championship at the Sacramento State Aquatics Center today. The Heron varsity eight, which came into the championship ranked sixth in the CRCA/USRowing Coaches Poll, placed fifth in today’s grand final.
Kim Goral, Liz Hafer, Libby Hughes, Claire Brown, Jess Steketee, Lauren Blake-Whitney, Tess Wiggins, Crary Chandler, and Sarah Gordon surged off the line into third place at the start, but was overtaken by Wellesley and Ithaca by the 500-meter mark. The Herons stayed in contact with the Bombers for the most of the race, but couldn’t improve their standing over the final 1,500 meters. William Smith crossed the finish line in 7:14.04.
“The boat continued to race this weekend as they have all season, holding themselves accountable to the process of continuing improvement,” Head Coach Sandra Chu said. “Working to put together a better technical race combined with the power they harnessed yesterday, they stepped up their game again.”
Top-ranked Williams won the gold medal with a time of 6:54.43 with No. 2 Bates grabbing silver (7:01.31) and No. 3 Wellesley taking bronze (7:02.23). No. 5 Ithaca was fourth in 7:09.99. The Ephs second varsity eight rounded out the field with a time of 7:16.56.
Williams won its sixth consecutive national championship by three points over runner-up Bates. Wellesley was third followed by Ithaca, William Smith, and Trinity (Conn.).
“I’m very proud that we performed better than our seeding as an eight and a team,” Chu said. “This championship experience has been a great one for our team. We feel honored to be among such great competitors and programs.”
William Smith’s fifth place finish in the grand final matches the team’s performance at the 2007 championship in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Herons’ fifth place team finish is the program’s best since a third place showing in 2002.