MSU Crew Strives For Semi-Final Qualification
May 28, 2004
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.- - Michigan State women's crew faced tough competition throughout the first day of racing at the 2004 NCAA Championship, posting sixth place finishes across the board in preliminary heats on Friday.
Virginia and California-Berkley joined three-time national champions Brown and Washington to dominate morning competition as the only teams to qualify all three boats to the semi-finals. Defending champion Harvard failed to advance any of its shells to the semis.
"We had a rough morning," said Spartan head coach Bebe Bryans. "Everyone is capable of reaching what we came here to accomplish, but we need to step up."
While the top three finishers from preliminary heats automatically qualified for Saturday's semi-final races, all three Green and White boats advanced to repechage races. The Spartans can only advance to the semis if they are able to finish in the top three of their respective repechage heats.
"It is not the easy route to qualifying for semi-finals," said Bryans of the opportunity to advance to the semis only through earning a top-three finish in repechage. "But at least we have another chance."
State's A-Flight varsity eight competed in the first of three Division I varsity eight qualifying heats on Friday morning. Although Spartans were in third place for a portion of the race, MSU finished sixth with a time of 6:55.50, earning the Green and White a spot in the repechage afternoon race, scheduled for 4 p.m. PDT. MSU is set to face Southern California, Tennessee, Harvard, Wisconsin, Texas and Washington State in that race.
Boats from State's heat who will advance directly to the semis include Ohio State (6:45.60), Washington (6:46.20) and Notre Dame (6:48.70).
The first three finishers in each of the two additional top varsity eight elimination heats include Brown (6:44.10), Michigan (6:45.80), Yale (6:46.70), Princeton (6:49.20), California-Berkley (6:49.50) and Virginia (6:54.80).
The second Spartan varsity eight also placed sixth in its qualifying heat, crossing the finish line in 7:01.70, less than two seconds behind Ohio State (6:59.00). Top three finishers Brown (6:47.30), Virginia (6:48.80) and Michigan (6:54.30) advanced straight to the semi-final race. Boats from the other B-Flight varsity eight heat continuing directly to semis include Washington (6:46.70), California-Berkley (6:48.30) and Washington State (6:51.00).
The Spartan varsity four posted 7:50.86, which was good for State's third sixth place finish of the day. Heat winners Virginia (7:28.67), Yale (7:35.50) and California-Berkley (7:37.57) will advance to the semis to face the top three finishers of the other Division I varsity four heat, including Ohio State (7:35.40), Washington (7:38.70) and Brown (7:41.60).
Despite fierce competition, Bryans reiterated her team's resilient strength and said that the Spartans are merely focusing on executing the kind of racing success that they have displayed many times this season.
"At this point, we can win it or not," said Bryans. "We have to race harder and we have to race better. We already know that we can do it and it is that simple."
Repechages for the second Spartan eight and for the Green and White varsity four are scheduled for Saturday morning.
Complete results from Friday's heats are available at: http://www.jamcotimes.com/2004/ncaaw/index.htm
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