{{ article.title }}

Zags Head Into Championship Weekend

April 26, 2007

Complete WIRA Schedule in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's crew program ventures to Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif., this weekend for both the West Coast Conference Championship and the WIRA Championships. The Bulldogs are looking to avenge their losses at both races last season. Gonzaga had been the only school to win the WCC title, nine-straight, before Loyola Marymount University dethroned GU.

Gonzaga will start the championship weekend off on Friday afternoon at the West Coast Conference Championships. Both GU and LMU finished the 2006 championship tied in points (27) but the Lions won the tie breaker by defeating the Bulldogs in the Varsity 8+ race. The Bulldogs look to bounce back and win its 10th title in 11 years when racing begins at Noon. The race will begin with the Varsity 4+ race, followed by the Junior Varsity 8+ and Varsity 8+.

"Obviously we were disappointed in losing the WCC's last season," stated head coach Glenn Putyrae. "It's been stuck with us all summer and going into all of our races this season. Our goal this season has been to regain the championship. We have been working extremely hard to get to where we are right now. Our rowers are putting their all into this race and will not settle for anything less than a championship."

On Saturday morning the Bulldogs look to continue their strong rowing at the WIRA Championships. The Varsity 8+ boat took first place in 2005 and place third a season ago, giving Gonzaga its fifth-straight year with a Top-3 finish. The Junior Varsity 8+ boat also finished with a bronze medal in 2006 after placing first in 2005. The Novice 8+ boat was the lone boat to capture gold a season ago, helping the Zags take home its second-straight WIRA Efficiency Trophy.

The Gonzaga Varsity 8+ has been seeded first in the WIRA draw and will be racing in the first of three heat races. Also racing in Gonzaga's heat will be Loyola Marymount, Saint Mary's College, UC Santa Barbara and the University of Portland. The top three boats from each heat race advance to Sunday's Grand Final.

The Zag Novice 8+ and the Second Varsity 8+ have also been seeded first and will be racing in the first of three heat races. The Novice 8+ will face off against UC San Diego, Santa Clara University, University of Colorado, University of San Diego, Puget Sound and Portland. The Second Varsity 8+ will also feature San Diego State, Western Washington, San Diego, Saint Mary's, Humboldt State and Chapman.

"Nearly half of our rowers in the Varsity 8+ and Second Varsity 8+ boats have been on a winning boat in the WIRA's," said Putyrae. "Knowing what it is like to win at a championship like this has made our rowers want to work that much harder to reach that goal again. Our rowers have done the work and are prepared for this weekend."

Schedule for WCC Championships - Lake Natoma, Sacramento, Calif.
Friday, April 27th
12:00 p.m. - Women's Varsity 4
12:20 p.m. - Women's 2nd Varsity 8
12:40 p.m. - Women's Varsity 8

West Coast Conference Championships Lineups (April 27)
Varsity 8+: Joan Aubry, Kelly Steinhaus, Jessica Kocarnik, Cory Nelson, Hanna McClintock, Katie Atkins, Kelsey Koenig, Nicole Aadland-Lewis, Whitney Engle

Second Varsity 8+: Sarah Rotar, Chelsie Eddings, Alissa Stempson, Sara Hickman, Kari Sulenes, Katherine Krueger, Elizabeth Moore, Samantha Cekovic, Rachel Ross

Varsity 4+: Melissa Refruerzo, Whitney Patrick, Sierra Tittle, Teagan Towhey, Julie Smetana

WIRA Championships Lineups (April 28-29)
Saturday, April 28
Varsity 8+ (Heat 1, 9:50 a.m.)

Joan Aubry, Kelly Steinhaus, Jessica Kocarnik, Cory Nelson, Hanna McClintock, Katie Atkins, Kelsey Koenig, Nicole Aadland-Lewis, Whitney Engle

Second Varsity 8+ (Heat 1, 1:30 p.m.)
Melissa Refruerzo, Whitney Patrick, Sierra Tittle, Teagan Towhey, Julie Smetana, Sara Amatuzio, Stephahie Murphy, Maria Fussell, Jana Holcombe

Novice 8+ (Heat 1, 10:50 a.m.)
Sara Rotar, Chelsie Eddings, Alissa Stempson, Sara Hickman, Kari Sulenes, Katherine Krueger, Elizabeth Moore, Samantha Cekovic, Rachel Ross