HADLEY, Mass. - Three NESCAC teams have been chosen to participate in the 2017 NCAA Rowing Championships, which will take place May 26-27 at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J. The championships will be hosted by The Ivy League and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Conference champion Bates earned an automatic bid to this year's championship after capturing its third overall NESCAC title. Williams was also selected to participate at this year's national championship and Wesleyan was chosen as one of two at-large Varsity Eight boats.
At the 2016 NCAA Championships at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center, Bates and Williams posted second and third-place finishes. In the final team standings, which combine the results from the WV8 and WV28 grand finals, Wellelsey earned the national championship with 40 points. Bates, which earned its sixth national runner-up finish, was second with 36 points. Williams was right behind in third with 35 followed by Pacific Lutheran was fourth with 27 points.
The WV8 grand final was close at the start before Wellesley took charge of the race after the first 250 meters. Williams and Wesleyan tried to challenge Wellesley in the final 500 meters, but the deficit was too much to overcome as Wellesley won the race with a time of 6:46.100. The Ephs edged the Cardinals at the finish line for second place with a time of 6:47.405, while Wesleyan clocked a time of 6:47.824. Bates finished fourth with a time of 6:50.996.
In the W2V8 grand final, Bates raced out to an early lead, owning more than a three-second lead through the first 500 meters. The Bobcats continued to extend their advantage throughout the race, as they went on the win the race by more than eight seconds with a time of 6:50.927. Wellesley came in second with a mark of 6:59.315, while Williams finished third (7:06.509). It was the third straight year that Bates' second varsity eight claimed the grand final gold medal.
Bates is in the national championship for the 11th consecutive year and won the NCAA title in 2015. Williams will be making its 14th straight NCAA appearance this spring. The Ephs won the first-ever Division III event in 2002 before winning eight straight NCAA crowns starting in 2006. Wesleyan is making its third appearance in four seasons after earning its first trip to the NCAA Championships in 2014.
The championships are comprised of six teams and each team is required to field two boats of eight rowers and a coxswain. Two at-large Varsity Eight boats also are selected. The following are the berths that are allocated: Pool A — three (Pool A consists of conferences that have been awarded automatic qualification); Pool B/C — three (Pools B and C include independents, institutions from conferences that do not meet automatic-qualification standards and Pool A institutions that did not receive their conference's automatic qualification).