GOLD RIVER, Calif. -- Gonzaga captured the 2015 West Coast Conference Women's Rowing Championships Saturday morning at the Sacramento State Aquatics Center on Lake Natoma. The Bulldogs capture the WCC's automatic berth and will compete in the NCAA Championship.
It was a battle from the opening race. Defending champion San Diego won the I Four (7:25.9) and the II Eight races (6:41.8), while the Bulldogs finished second in both, posting times of 7:27.2 and 6:45.0 respectively.
Needing a win in the signature I Eight race to win its second WCC Championship in three seasons and 14th overall, Gonzaga broke through for a convincing victory against San Diego. The Bulldogs finished at 6:22.5, more than 0:04 in front of the runner-up Toreros (6:26.9).
In the final point standings, both Gonzaga and San Diego finished with 39 points, but the tiebreaker goes to the winner of the I Eight race. Loyola Marymount finished third overall with 28 points, three in front of Saint Mary's in fourth place at 25 points. Portland was fifth with 19 points followed by Santa Clara (10) and Creighton (8).
Gonzaga posted a clean sweep of the four major individual WCC honors. Kara Soucek is the third Bulldog to win Rower of the Year since the award was established in 2012. Coxswain of the Year goes to Karly Dougherty, the third Bulldog so recognized. Newcomer of the Year was awarded to Isabelle Belzil, the second Gonzaga student-athlete honored in the three-year history of the category. Glenn Putyrae collected his sixth WCC Coach of the Year honor.
Gonzaga will represent the WCC in the NCAA Nationals beginning May 29 at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif. San Diego will await its postseason fate and is in good position for at-large consideration.
2015 West Coast Conference Rowing Championship
Final Team Totals
1. Gonzaga -- 39 Points*
2. San Diego -- 39 Points*
3. Loyola Marymount -- 28 Points
4. Saint Mary's -- 25 Points
5. Portland -- 19 Points
6. Santa Clara -- 10 Points
7. Creighton -- 8 Points
*Gonzaga wins tiebreaker due to victory in the I Eight Race
2015 West Coast Conference Women's Rowing Major Awards
WCC Newcomer of the Year: Isabelle Belzil, Gonzaga
WCC Coxswain of the Year: Karly Dougherty, Gonzaga
WCC Rower of the Year: Kara Soucek, Gonzaga
WCC Coach of the Year: Glenn Putyrae, Gonzaga
2015 All-West Coast Conference Women's Rowing Team
Creighton: Sarah Birnbaum, Anne Marie Stonikas
Gonzaga: Devyn Bell, Brooklyn Beeler, Maddie Turbes, Kara Soucek
Loyola Marymount: Toni Boteva, Louisa Del Valle
Portland: Kelly Herman, Claire Seibold
Saint Mary's: Sharyl Koenig, Claire Ochsner
San Diego: Nneka Anyanwu, Mary Jo Keys, Christina Morcom
Santa Clara: Brittany Peters, Molly Walker