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Bates varsity eights both make grand final at ECACs

The Bates women's varsity eight appeared to cement a place in the NCAA Championships with their impressive run this weekend.

WORCESTER, Mass. -- The Bates College women's varsity eight took third place in the grand final of the National Invitational Collegiate Regatta on Sunday. The Bobcats, ranked No. 3 in Division III, covered the 2,000-meter course in 6:57.118, behind only rivals Williams (6:46.822) and Trinity (6:47.427) and ahead of fourth-place and No. 4-ranked Ithaca (7:02.187), St. Lawrence and New Hampshire.

Next up for Bates is a likely return trip to the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships May 30-June 1 in Sacramento, Calif.

Meanwhile the Bates men's varsity eight, rowing in their season finale, likewise made the field in their grand final, finishing sixth (6:11.298) in the race behind Trinity, Michigan, Orange Coast, Williams and Marist.

Most recently ranked No. 6 in New England, the Bates men's varsity eight finished third (6:12.073) in Saturday's third heat behind Orange Coast College (6:08.561) and Marist (6:10.623) and ahead of Coast Guard, Hamilton and Colby, advancing to one of four semifinal heats on Sunday. In a fiercely contested men's varsity eight first semifinal, Bates finished third in 5:58.353, behind Orange Coast (5:56.654) and Williams (5:58.003) and ahead of Virginia (5:59.535), WPI (6:02.658) and UC San Diego (6:04.432), earning a coveted berth in the grand final.

The Bates College women's varsity eight won its heat Saturday, covering the 2,000-meter course in 6:39.867, outpacing runner-up Holy Cross (6:46.265) by nearly seven seconds in the third of four heats. Skidmore, Mount Holyoke and Colby followed in the heat. With the third-best time in all four heats, Bates advanced to Sunday's first semifinal, where the Bobcats (6:53.0) rowed second to Trinity (6:49.7) and ahead of New Hampshire, Coast Guard, Skidmore and Tufts to gain a berth in the grand final.

Bates also competed in the men's second varsity eight petite final, finishing second in a time of 6:47.002 to Ithaca (6:45.583) and ahead of Williams (6:48.674), New Hampshire, Rochester Institute of Technology and UMass-Amherst. The Bates women's second varsity eight also made the second varsity eight petite final, finishing fifth (7:52.469) in a tight six-boat race, trailing close behind Tufts (7:42.175), New Hampshire, William Smith and St. Lawrence and beating out rival Colby.

Find complete regatta results at http://secure.powerhousetiming.com/powerhouse/webpages/raceResults.jsp?raceId=182