INDIANAPOLIS -- The Bates women's rowing team remains on track in its quest for the NCAA Division III Rowing Championship, with Friday's first-day results putting both of the Bobcats' boats in their respective grand finals on Saturday morning.
Bates' first varsity eight (WV8) won its preliminary heat and advanced directly to Saturday's Grand Final, while the Bates W2V8 also advanced to the W2V8 grand final by winning the Friday afternoon W2V8 repechage.
In the second of two preliminary heats for varsity eights, eventual runner-up Wiliam Smith led Bates' WV8 by a fraction of a second after 500 meters. But the Bobcats pulled into a 2-second lead by the halfway point of the heat, and continued that trend into a 4.595-second margin of victory over the competition from New York State, with a final time of 7:13.133 on the 2,000-meter course at Eagle Creek Park. Washington (Md.) College was third at 7:22.192, followed by Ithaca in fourth at 7:35.857. Bates' victory allowed the Bobcats to bypass the afternoon repechage races and automatically qualify for Saturday's Grand Final.
Bates' time was more than three seconds faster than Williams' was in the Ephs' victory in the other prelim. Williams won that race in 7:16.584, well ahead of Trinity (7:23.940).
The start time for Saturday's WV8 grand final has been moved up to 7:20am Eastern, accounting for weather forecasts. The race will feature Bates, Williams, Trinity, William Smith, Wellesley and Washington College.
The Bates W2V8 was a solid second among three boats in its prelim. Trinity took the early lead and maintained it, finishing in 7:18.341, while Bates finished in 7:23.337 and Washington College took third in 7:32.871.
Moving on to the afternoon W2V8 repechage, the Bobcats pulled away over the final 1,000 meters to post a commanding win among four boats. The Bobcats finished in 7:54.310, followed by Wellesley in 7:59.315, William Smith in 8:10.410 and Washington fourth in 8:20.292. The win put Bates in the W2V8 grand final, taking place Saturday at 7am (preceding the WV8 grand final by 20 minutes). That race will feature four boats: Bates, Williams, Trinity and Wellesley.
Bates is appearing in its seventh consecutive NCAA Rowing Championship and vying for its first title. The Bobcats have finished as the national runner-up to Williams for four straight years.
Bates' WV8: Junior coxswain Gabriella Bilotta (Washington, D.C.); sophomore Jenna Armstrong (Florham Park, N.J.), junior Alexandra Hill (Wayland, Mass.), junior Heather Monty (Bedford, N.H.), sophomore Mallory Ward (Pittsford, N.Y.), sophomore Elizabeth Sangree (Ashford, Conn.), junior Hope King (Greenwich, Conn.), junior Aisling Ryan (Millis, Mass.), sophomore Eliza Barkan (Seattle, Wash.).
Bates' W2V8: Junior coxswain Molly Huffaker (Ithaca, N.Y.), junior Sarah Murphy (Wellesley, Mass.), senior Lauren Hadiaris (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), first-year Alison Simmons (Indiana, Pa.), first-year Emma Taylor (Scituate, Mass.), sophomore Rebecca O'Neill (Westminster, Vt.), first-year Margaux Joselow (Manchester, N.H.), junior Taylor Kniffin (Stamford, Conn.), junior Hadley Dawson (Wayland, Mass.).