Gonzaga continues strong showing at NCAA championship

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May 27, 2017 Courtesy of gozags.com 


WEST WINDSOR, N.J. -- The (RV) Gonzaga Bulldogs had all three boats contend in the C/D Semifinals on Saturday at the 2017 NCAA Championships at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. Both eights boats just missed the C Finals in very close races, as the top-three finishers advanced, and the varsity four surged to a runner-up finish to return to the C Final after missing it last year.

The wind was calm and the water was in great condition for racing. The lack of tailwind made the times a bit slower, but the chop was much milder.

The Zags top crew made a surge at the 1000 meter mark and pushed No. 16 Notre Dame and Central Florida the rest of the way for that valued third spot, falling just a second short to Central Florida at 6:30.880 for fourth, their second-fastest C/D Semifinal time in program history, and eight seconds off their pace from yesterday as the tailwinds had disappeared. No. 13 Iowa won the race at 6:24.515, six seconds ahead of GU, with Notre Dame three seconds off that pace. GU defeated Jacksonville by 28 seconds. The Bulldogs moved into the D Final on Sunday, which they last raced in and won in 2013.

The second varsity eight had a similar race, with perfect conditions, battling with Northeastern and No. 13 Iowa for the third qualifying spot for the C Final. The Zags finished in fourth at 6:39.674, three-fourths of a second behind Iowa and less than a second out of second place, and their fastest C/D Semifinal time in program history. No. 15 Washington State won the race at 6:36.594, two seconds ahead of Northeastern. Northeastern was less than a second faster than GU, and the Zags beat UMass by 14 seconds. The second varsity eight won the D Final in 2013 and 2015.

The varsity four had a great race, beating No. 15 Washington State by three seconds at 7:24.856, to comfortably qualify for the C Final, and break their fastest C/D Semifinal time set last year by 14 seconds. They were five seconds behind the winner in No. 6 Brown, and (RV) Central Florida was eight seconds behind the Cougars, and UMass was 11 seconds behind UCF. The varsity four raced in the C Final in 2013 and 2015 taking fourth and sixth, respectively.

"We really showed our grit and mental toughness," Gonzaga sophomore varsity four member Ana Delucchi said. "It is hard to race when all the boats are that close, but we showed our toughness to keep going when it is neck-and-neck the whole way down."

The varsity eight and second varsity eight will race in the D Final tomorrow in the last day of racing, and the varsity four will compete in the C Final.


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