Zags Make History; Win Four Golds At WIRA Championships
LAKE NATOMA, Calif. - It was an all-around perfect day for the Gonzaga University women's rowing program. The Bulldogs closed out the 2012 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship winning gold in all four events they were entered into; the Varsity8+, Second Varsity 8+, Novice 8+ and the Varsity 4+. Gonzaga also won the Team Points Trophy for the first time in school history and claimed the Efficiency Trophy.
It was the second time in school history the Bulldogs claimed gold in all races they were participating in. GU also won four events at the 2009 WIRA Championships.
"We all are feeling pretty good right now," stated Zag head coach Glenn Putyrae. "We couldn't do much better. It was a total team effort and for me that is extremely gratifying. The team worked really really hard and to see these results and this success is a good feeling."
The Varsity 4+ started things off for the Bulldogs with a bang Sunday, closing out the 2,000-meter course on Lake Natoma 15-seconds faster than their nearest competitor. Gonzaga earned a finish of 7:25.2, with second place Sacramento State University crossing the finish line at 7:40.8. West Coast Conference member Saint Mary's College rounded out the top three at 7:57.0.
The Zag Second Varsity 8+ also claimed a pretty large victory, crossing the finish line 12 seconds ahead of second place Sacramento State. The Bulldogs time was 6:47.8, while Sacramento State's finish was 6:59.4. Loyola Marymount University - another WCC opponent - placed third at 7:09.1.
"Each of the four races was competitive for us today, but the Varsity 4+ and the Second Varsity 8+ both put together dominate performances," stated Putyrae.
The Second Varsity 8+ win was the fifth time in eight years for the Bulldogs, while the Varsity 4+ victory was the first since 2009.
The most nerve racking race of the day may have been the Novice 8+. The Bulldogs were down all the way to the sprint and then, like Saturday's heat race, came from behind to win the race. Gonzaga's winning time was 7:07.3, just ahead of UC Davis at 7:08.3. Saint Mary's placed third at 7:09.6.
The Novice 8+ victory for the Zags was the sixth win in seven years at the WIRA's.
In the marquee Varsity 8+ Grand Final, Gonzaga earned a two-second victory over Saint Mary's. The Bulldogs closed out the course in 6:43.5. The Gaels had a time of 6:45.5 and Sacramento State placed third in 6:46.0.
"The Varsity 8+ was pushed down the course by both Saint Mary's and Sacramento State," explained Putyrae. "The race certainly was not a row away; it was a good hard fought race. What we expected."
Gonzaga's last victory at the WIRA's was in 2009.
Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships - Sunday, April 29, 2012
Lake Natoma - Lake Natoma, Calif.
1. Gonzaga 6:43.5, 2. Saint Mary's 6:45.5, 3. Sacramento State 6:46.0, 4. Stanford 6:48.4, 5. UC Davis 6:52.3, 6. Loyola Marymount 6:56.8.
Women's Second Varsity 8+
1. Gonzaga 6:47.8, 2. Sacramento State 6:59.4, 3. Loyola Marymount 7:09.1, 4. San Diego State 7:12.7, 5. Saint Mary's 7:14.7
Women's Novice 8+
1. Gonzaga 7:07.3, 2. UC Davis 7:08.3, 3. Saint Mary's 7:09.6, 4. San Diego 7:20.6, 5. UC Santa Barbara 7:23.7, 6. San Diego State 7:26.6
Women's Varsity 4+
1. Gonzaga 7:25.2, 2. Sacramento State 7:40.8, 3. Saint Mary's 7:57.0, 4. San Diego State 8:03.7, 5. Loyola Marymount, 8:30.8
Efficiency Trophy Winners
Team Points Trophy Winners
WIRA Coach of the Year: Glenn Putyrae