Stanford rowing alums David Banks ('05) and Jake Cornelius ('05) were part of the men's U.S. Eight that captured a four-second victory over New Zealand Tuesday at the Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, claiming a spot in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Banks and Cornelius were named to the boat's new lineup May 1, following an arduous training camp held in Berkeley. USRowing opted to make changes to the original crew that had failed to earn an Olympic spot at the World Rowing Championships last September.
"We are thankful and honored to represent the U.S. in the Eight at the qualifier," Banks said prior to the event. "We know it's going to be a tough race and are training hard and working to get faster. We can't appreciate enough the support from Stanford University, Stanford Athletics, and especially Stanford's Men's Crew team. We would not have this opportunity without Stanford and Coach Amerkhanian."
"We are training hard and trying to get faster," Cornelius said. "It's an honor to be representing the United States. I wouldn't be where I am today without the support of Stanford Rowing and the leadership of its coaching staff."
After rolling through the qualifying heats and earning the top seed in the final, the U.S. Eight led from the start in Tuesday's do-or-die race. By the opening 500 meters, the U.S. had built a lead of more than two seconds, slowly adding to that advantage before crossing the line in a time of 5:36.11, nearly four seconds ahead of New Zealand's 5:40.02.
"David and Jake constructed the Stanford Boathouse 'can do' culture," said Stanford men's rowing head coach Craig Amerkhanian. "Both men have represented our University with dignity. I am proud to have coached both. Qualifying the eight is just the beginning of a magnificent Olympic experience for David, Jake, their families and friends."
Senior Ryan Thacher opens the NCAA singles tournament for Stanford early Wednesday morning. The 29th-ranked Thacher meets Texas Tech's Gonzalo Escobar at 7 a.m. (PT).
Fifth-seeded Mallory Burdette opens the women's singles tournament for the Cardinal at 9:30 a.m. against South Carolina State's Maria Cracium.
Bradley Klahn, ranked 36th, meets No. 4 Jarmere Jenkins of Virginia in another singles match Wednesday.
Klahn and Thacher, ranked fourth, also compete in the doubnles tournament and will open Thursday.
Stanford sophomore Nicole Gibbs is the tournament's third seed and will meet No. 22 Emily Fraser of Virginia in the first round. Stacey Tan, who reached last year's championship final, meets No. 36 Natalie Beazant of Rice.
Gibbs and Burdette are the tournament's No. 2 seed in the doubles tournament and will open play on Thursday. Tan and Ellen Tsay will also play doubles.
Stanford's Daphne Martschenko and Kristy Wentzel were selected to the Division I West All-Region first and second teams, respectively, the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) announced Tuesday.
Martshcenko was also one of seven Cardinal rowers honored as a CRCA Scholar-Athlete. Christina Bax, Sarah Bolmer, Alison Fauci, Claire Grover, Marielle Higgins and Jenna Levy joined Martschenko on that list.
Stanford compete at the NCAA Championships this weekend (May 25-27) on the waters of Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J.
Stanford finds itself in 24th place after the first round of the NCAA championships on the Vanderbilt Legends Golf Club course in Franklin, Tenn.
The Cardinal, with a team score of 309 Tuesday, is 23 strokes behind first place Alabama, which holds a two-stroke lead over Virginia.
Freshman Mariko Tumangan was the only Stanford player to break par on Tuesday, shooting a 1-under 71.
Tumangan trails first round leader Portland Rosen of Virginia by five strokes heading into tomorrow's second round.