The Stanford women's rowing team placed sixth with 100 points at the NCAA Championships that wrapped up Sunday in Gold River, near Sacramento.
"At the NCAA's you know you have to bring your best," said head coach Yasmin Farooq. "I am really proud of the work our team did in the week leading up to the championship and also the improvements they made from the heat to the semifinal to the final."
The team finish was one spot higher than its ranking to end the season. Sunday's final races featured the varsity eight in the Grand Final and both the 2V8 and varsity four in the petite final.
Every team wants to build throughout the season and end the season with its best racing of the year. Stanford did just that with some impressive performances throughout the three days at Lake Natoma.
The second varsity eight missed out on the Grand Final by a fraction of a second on Saturday, but did not let the result get them down. Instead they came out fired up to show the spectators what they could do in the petite final.
Racing out of lane one, the Cardinal fired off the starting line and opened up a two second lead on the field by the 500 meter mark. The boat continued its pace through the next 1,000, never relinquishing the lead. It was clear the group wanted to send seniors Courtney Carrabino and Amanda Lorei out on a good note.
When all was said and done, Stanford impressed viewers with a time of 6:32.060 to best Texas and Wisconsin by three seconds. By winning the petite final, the Cardinal placed seventh overall.
"It is probably the race I am most proud of in my career," said Carrabino. "We have had a lot of learning experiences this year but today we put everything together and I don't think we could have done any better."
The varsity eight put on a similar show in the semifinal for a chance to race with the best of the best for a national championship. The two-time defending national champion, Ohio State, led throughout the entire race with Cal less than a second behind. Stanford was in a tight battle with Virginia, Texas and Washington.
The Cavaliers were able to establish the third place position in the second 1,000 meters, while Stanford was in fourth heading into the final 500 of the race. Texas and Washington were fighting alongside the Cardinal and the Longhorns were able to sprint into fourth place by one second.
Stanford ended up fifth with a time of 6:28.018, half a second up on Washington. It was a great showing for the Pac-12 with three boats in the Grand Final, two more than any other conference.
The three seniors in the varsity eight, coxswain Naomi Cornman, Alix Chrumka and Nancy Miles did a great job all season long of helping the Cardinal top boat rank among the best in the country and setting a good example to follow for the remaining six rowers going in to next season.
The varsity four may have made the most improvement from the start of the season until the end. Featuring at least three freshmen for most the year, performances grew each weekend with experience.
Racing for the fourth time in three days, Stanford showed no signs of fatigue in the petite final. A familiar foe, Washington State, jumped out to a good-sized lead early, leaving the Cardinal and the rest of the pack to battle.
By the midway point, Cal moved into second by a couple of seats with Stanford up a couple of seats on Michigan for third. As the race came down to the finish line, the places stayed the same, but the margins decreased.
Stanford was in third with a time of 7:29.455, one second behind Cal and nearly one second in front of Michigan.