The University of Virginia rowing team won its second NCAA Championship on Sunday May 27 at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, New Jersey. It is the team’s second national championship in three years.
The First Varsity Eight finished with a time of 6:18.72, just ahead of Michigan with 6:22.09. The team finished with 87 points, defeating Michigan in second with 82, California in third with 78, and Princeton in fourth with 77. Although Virginia was seeded first in the First Varsity Eight coming into the regatta, the race was a nail biter as the team fell second to Michigan after 250 meters. The Cavs soon took the lead at the 750-meter mark and by the end of the race were almost leading by open water.
Virginia Rowing coach Kevin Sauer told Virginia Sports, “I told them before the race to remember who they are and what they want and they just went out and did it. They were tight in the beginning and were a little behind, but they were patient and in the second thousand (meters), they were awesome.”
The team received more recognition on Monday June 4 as five members of the NCAA Champion Virginia rowing team were named Pocock First-Team All-Americans including senior coxswain Sidney Thorsten, seniors Keziah Beall, Sarah Cowburn, Martha Kuzzy, and junior Kristine O’Brien. In addition, coach Kevin Sauer was named CRCA Division I National Coach of the Year for the second time in three years.
The Cavaliers last won the NCAA title in 2010 and finished second three times in 1999, 2005, and 2007. The First Varsity Eight has never won a national title but finished second in 1999, 2009, and 2010.