BY LUKE REYNOLDS
PHOTOS BY LISA WORTHY
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The reign of the Bates Bobcats continues.
For the fourth time in a row the Lewiston, Maine college has captured an NCAA title.
“Congrats to our Bobcat women on another dominant performance at NCAA DIII rowing championships,” Bates President Clayton Spencer said on Twitter. “Incredibly poised and powerful showing by our first boat! Go Bobcats!”
The Bates crews swept the DIII races earning the title of national champion in the first and second eights scoring the maximum 42 team points.
The DIII competition was not the only historic racing to take place in Sarasota today.
When Brittany Hill, true freshman and five-seat of the Alabama first eight, approached the starting line of today’s A/B semifinal she and her teammates were also making history.
This year’s event marks the first time the University of Alabama has competed for the national title.
“Everybody is just so excited, we’ve been putting in the work all year and to finally be here is the best feeling,” Hill said. “Our saying this weekend has been ‘nothing to lose, everything to gain.’ We know it is big to be here for the first time in our program’s history, and we are here to show everybody what Alabama is about.”
On the nearly flat water with the sun overhead, the Crimson Tide would go on to finish fifth at Nathan Benderson Park earning a spot in tomorrow’s DI first eight petite final.
“The semi today was a solid race, we really put it all out there and had fun while doing it. From the first stroke, you could really feel how bad we wanted it, and that’s what every race has been focused on,” Hill said.
Hill attributes the success Alabama has found in their first NCAA experience to coaches and reliable teammates.
“We wouldn’t be here without our amazing coaching staff who have pushed us to be our best and continuously proven to us that it isn’t about your height or your experience, it’s all about how hard you are willing to push your body for 2000 meters,” Hill said. “As a freshman in the first eight event you would think it would seem intimidating, but the girls I get the privilege of rowing with every day are so strong and always have each other’s backs.”
The crews that have been consitently putting up wins continued to do so today setting the stage for finals tomorrow.
Despite a breakage that caused the second DI A/B first eight semifinal to take place before the first, the University of Texas once again found themselves in the top spot confirming their place in the DI first eight grand final.
In the second DI A/B first eight semi, Stanford bested the University of Washington by two seconds and posted the fastest time of the day overall. The Cardinal will join the Huskies, the Longhorns, Rutgers, Michigan, and Virginia in tomorrow’s premier race.
The results were similar in the DI fours A/B semi with Texas and Stanford winning their events. The two crews will join Ohio State, Washington, Michigan, and Virginia in tomorrow’s DI fours grand final.
In the only two DII races of the day, Florida Tech won both the Division II eights and fours reps. They will join the University of Central Oklahoma and Mercyhurst in both of tomorrow’s DII grand finals.
“Having the petite final tomorrow as our last race of the season, the only goal here is to go out and be as fast as possible and push ourselves to our limits and then go even further. Coach Putyrae said to us today ‘tomorrow is a pain contest,’ and we are so ready for it,” Hill said.