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Women's rowing puts both boats in Grand Finals at NCAAs

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. -- The No. 2 nationally ranked Bates women's rowing team won both of its preliminary heats on Friday morning to open its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Division III Women's Rowing Championships, setting the Bobcats' two boats up to automatically advance to their respective Grand Finals tomorrow.

The NCAA regatta's new structure this year divides the Division III races into first and second eights (WV8 and W2V8) the whole way through -- canceling out the possibility of both of a competing team's eights competing in the same Grand Final.

Bates' first varsity eight, ranked second in the country, opened things up Friday morning by outpacing boats from William Smith, Marietta and Trinity in Heat 2 of the WV8 preliminary heats. Bates finished the 2,000-meter course at Lake Mercer in 7:02.55, followed by William Smith in 7:07.27. The win allowed the Bates boat to skip Friday afternoon's repechage and move on to tomorrow's Grand Final, where the Bobcats will face, among four other boats, the other preliminary heat winner, Williams. The top-ranked Ephs have edged the Bobcats' WV8 in a 1-2 finish in each of the past three years at NCAAs. Saturday's showdown is scheduled for 11:55am.

Bates' W2V8 advanced straight to the Grand Final for second eights, finishing its heat in 7:16.44 to beat out Trinity (7:22.59) and Marietta (7:45.64) for the bye. The W2V8 Grand Final precedes the WV8 Grand Final, with a start time of 11:20am. Williams won the other W2V8 heat, leaving Wellesley, William Smith, Trinity and Marietta to race in a repechage later on Friday for a second attempt to make the Grand Final.

Bates' WV8 is headed by senior captains Allison DiSalvo (Lowell, Mass.) and Haley Sive (Glenville, N.Y.), as well as senior varsity eight crew members Kelsey Dion (Truckee, Calif.) and Elizabeth Sonshine (Short Hills, N.J.). Sonshine and Sive are 2012 Pocock Division III All-America selections. Also on Bates’ first eight are Mallory Ward ’15 (Pittsford, N.Y.), Hope King ’14 (Greenwich, Conn.), Alexandra Hill ’14 (Wayland, Mass.), Heather Monty ’14 (Bedford, N.H.), and coxswain Gabriella Bilotta ’14 (Washington, D.C.).

Bates’ W2V8 lineup at last weekend’s National Invitational Rowing Championships, the team’s most successful ever, included Jenna Armstrong ’15 (Florham Park, N.J.) (bow); Elizabeth Sangree ’15 (Ashford, Conn.); Lauren Hadiaris ’13 (Cape Elizabeth, Maine); Rachel Ellis ’14 (Snohomish, Wash.); Amy Jacks ’12 (Baltimore, Md.); Sarah Murphy ’14 (Wellesley, Mass.); Eliza Barkan ’15 (Seattle, Wash.); Aisling Ryan ’14 (Millis, Mass.) (stroke); and Molly Huffaker ’14 (Ithaca, N.Y.) (cox). Also making the trip as alternates are coxswain Maggie Carey ’14 (Lincoln, Mass.), Taylor Kniffin ’14 (Stamford, Conn.) and Caroline Webb ’12 (Tiburon, Calif.).