Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
LAKEWOOD, Wash. - The Pacific Lutheran University women's rowing team hoisted the Northwest Conference title for the third consecutive season on Sunday, winning the varsity eight race and placing second in the second varsity eight race to secure the three-peat on American Lake.
"We're pretty excited about this conference title, the third in a row and can't wait to get back at it and set our eyes on getting that NCAA bid in three weeks," said Head Coach Andy Foltz who was named the NWC Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the regatta. "We have some building to do in our training but we're going to celebrate like we should and enjoy it. The whole team is excited, we talked a lot about the growth of this team over the year and over the course of the last four years, starting in 2015 when we finishing third as a team and we haven't lost since. The tradition is going and PLU is a force to be reckoned with. This is our regatta and our "A" race for the year outside of nationals and the team executed well today."
The Lutes earned their third straight title by the thinnest of margins, scoring 40 points with runner-up and crosstown rival University of Puget Sound collecting 39 points in the team standings. League newcomer Mills College was third with 29 points followed by Lewis & Clark College in fourth with 24 points and Pacific University in fifth (18 points).
PLU's victory came on the strength of the varsity eight boat, besting the five boat field by a nearly eight second margin, traversing 2,000-meters of choppy water in eight minutes, 6.9 seconds. Three members of the winning 1V: Hannah Peterson, Alison Wriggle, and coxswain Millie McBride, were honored as All-NWC selections after the race.
"They lost to UPS about a month ago by four and a half seconds. Since then, they've been lasered in on getting better and finding more swing and just getting better connections with each other. They really stepped up today and rowed a tough and gritty race that is a good representation of who they are. Definitely not the best race they've had but at the same time they put together a conference championship worthy race and that's exactly what they had to do."
The Lutes 2V placed second behind UPS, crossing the finish line in 8:32.84.
"The 2V struggled a bit in their race. I think they probably let the conditions get to them but at the same time, UPS has a strong 2V, so for them to be able to battle and stay within an eight second margin was still a pretty good margin for us but we have work to do in that boat. Still pretty excited about what they were able to put together though and be composed in the conditions we had through the morning."
The day began with the 3V and 4V boats racing with the 3V finishing runner-up (8:25.03) in the race while the 4V was third (8:32.52). The race was officially an exhibition with only the 1V and 2V races counting towards deciding the NWC Championship.
"We're pretty excited about that race. Especially having raced UPS in the same boats about a month ago and the margins were pretty far off. And our 4V which is a boat full of novices to see how far they've come to put together that race is really cool to see them be competitive with our 3V."
The Lutes take next weekend off before competing at Opening Day/Windermere Cup on May 5 in Seattle.