Event: Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships
When: Saturday and Sunday; all day
Where: Lake Natomas – Folsom, Calif.
Did you know? UC Davis won the overall title at last year’s W.I.R.A Championships. The Aggies combined to win the novice 4 event, place silver in each the second varsity 8 and second novice 8 and wrapped up with two bronzes in the varsity 8 and novice 8 .
Last year’s field of 32 teams was the largest in W.I.R.A. history. The event serves as the conference championship for UC Davis.
Preview: The Aggies have a competitive weekend ahead of them as they look to defend their 2008 W.I.R.A team title in their toughest regatta this season.
UC Davis will be hitting the course along with some of the best women’s programs on the West Coast. This season will most likely be a display of the fastest racing that W.I.R.A.‘s has ever seen, not to mention the heats will be uncomfortably tight for many competitors.
The premiere heat on Saturday will be the women’s varsity 8 which will be coming down the course in Lane 2 at 11:10 a.m. The Aggies share the heat with Sacramento State, San Diego State and Loyola Marymount.
The Aggies raced both Sac State and SDSU earlier in the season, splitting a loss and a win, respectively. To advance to the grand finals on Sunday, the women must place in the top two in their heat.
The varsity 8 will be looking to advance to the finals to take on defending champion Gonzaga, which pulled out a 1.6-second victory over UC Davis last spring. The recent Cmax rowing poll shows Gonzaga with a 5.1-second advantage over UC Davis.
Other events on the day will show the depth of the W.I.R.A. field, as most races will be seven crews deep.
The first race of the day is the varsity 4 which will be coming down at 8:50 a.m. It will be followed by the junior varsity 8 at 10:30 a.m., varsity 8 at 11:10 a.m., the women’s second novice 8 at 12:50 p.m., and the novice 8 at 2:20 p.m.
The grand finals will be held on Sunday, resuming at 8 a.m. The championship awards ceremony will be held at 12:45 p.m. on the finish line greens.
All races can be seen live at gowira.org.
– Andrea Gutierrez