UC Davis’ novice eight women’s crew overcame Gonzaga over the final 500 meters to claim first place in the petite final at the Pac-10 Championships at Lake Natoma on Sunday afternoon while the varsity eight took fifth in its petite final.
The Aggie novices crossed the finish line of the 2,000-meter course in six minutes, 57.1 seconds, beating Gonzaga by less than a second and third-place Sacramento State by almost two. The Aggies’ varsity eight was timed in its petite final in 6:56.8.
Sunday’s races brought to a close the 2009 season for UC Davis. The Pac-10 Championships annually bring together the top rowing programs in the West Region. The varsity eight class featured seven teams currently ranked in the top 20.
The novices nearly qualified for their event’s grand final, finishing fourth in their preliminary races on Sunday morning. They were edged out by USC by less than a second for third place and the last spot in the championship.
The Aggies trailed the Trojans by more than two seconds heading into the final piece before nearly making up the entire deficit. USC was timed in 7:00.9 while UC Davis was close behind in 7:01.8.
Gonzaga took the early lead in the petite final, leading the Aggies after each of the first 500-meter markers including taking a three-second-advantage midway. However, UC Davis turned in a 1:45.63 split over the third piece to get within less than a second before passing Gonzaga for the close win.
Gonzaga was clocked at 6:58.6 to take second while Sacramento State was third in 6:59.1.
Racing against four ranked crews in its preliminary race on Sunday morning, UC Davis’ varsity eight found itself in a close battle with Saint Mary’s for fifth place. The Aggies led the Gaels for the first 1,000 meters before Saint Mary’s rallied for a slight lead after 1,500. However, a 1:42.53 split down the stretch enabled the Aggies to earn fifth in 6:54.4, slightly in front of Saint Mary’s which crossed in 6:55.9.
UC Davis was third after 500 meters in its petite final, trailing only No. 20 UCLA and Sacramento State. It then slipped to fifth at the halfway mark and wasn’t able to overcome the deficit the rest of the way, ending the race in 6:56.8. UCLA (6:40.0) won the petite final and was followed by Gonzaga, Sacramento State and Saint Mary’s.
Top-ranked Stanford won the varsity eight grand final in 6:18.6 while Washington claimed top novice honors in 6:44.0.
AGGIE DIGEST is compiled by the California Aggie sports staff with briefs from the UC Davis athletics website, ucdavisaggies.com.