Calling rowing an aquatic sport this weekend would have been an understatement.
The Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships were held in the midst of the worst rain Sacramento has seen all winter.
The Aggies managed to walk away from the two-day regatta with the third-place team trophy by making a strong appearance in each event. UC Davis tallied a total of 347 points. Sacramento State (360 points) and Gonzaga (352 points) took first and second place, respectively.
It was a tough field at Lake Natomas, as crews from San Diego State, Puget Sound and Loyola Marymount, among others, all made appearances. In an effort to give every Aggie rower more valuable race experience, coach Carissa Adams chose to bump each boat up in competitive categories.
The third novice 8 boat raced in the second novice event, managing to sweep both their heat and the grand final. The Aggies posted a heat time of 7:29.3 on Saturday before putting up an impressive 7:24.7 Sunday. They held off second-place SDSU, third-place UC Santa Barbara and four other squads to earn the win.
“The second novice eight stepped up their game,” Adams said. “They really did a great job against the competition.“
The winning novice lineup was coxed by Caleigh Guoynes and stroked by Randi Olsen, Danika Reddick, Emily Mertens, Robyn Bryson, Celeste Casita, Amy Tejada, Belinda Lam and Melissa Tobia.
The women’s varsity 8 also advanced to the grand finals, placing fifth with a time of 7:01.4. Gonzaga won the event in 6:48.9.
UC Davis also picked up fourth-place finishes in the second varsity 8 and novice 8 events. It beat out rivals Sac State and SDSU in both events.
The second varsity edged out the Hornets by a two-second margin. The novice race, meanwhile, was decided by just .3 seconds.
“In the end, we made the right decision in racing everyone up one level,” Adams said. “The junior varsity 8 was comprised of all walk-on novices. It was a great accomplishment.“
The Aggies are off until they return to Lake Natomas in two weeks for the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships.
ANDREA GUTIERREZ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.