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SACRAMENTO, Calif. Virginia’s Second Varsity Eight won its race to advance to Sunday’s Grand Final on the second day of competition at the 2008 NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.

The Second Varsity Eight crew (coxswain Mary Eddy, Amanda Chase, Lauren Shook, Helen Tompkins, Marie Long, Claudia Blandford, Annie Bohlen, Adrienne Egge and Victoria Burke) finished with a time of 6:47.83, edging California’s second-place finish of 6:48.87.

Virginia trailed Yale in the opening 500 meters of the 2,000-meter race, and maintained its second-place standing through the halfway mark. In the second half of the race, the Cavaliers moved into the lead and then held off Cal for the victory.

In Sunday’s six-boat Grand Final, the Cavaliers will be joined by California, Washington State, Washington, Tennessee and Wisconsin for the right to be called national champion.

Virginia has a successful history of national champions in the Second Varsity Eight, as UVa’s 1998, 1999 and 2005 boats all had first-place finishes in the event.

Also competing in Sunday’s Grand Final will be UVa’s Varsity Four crew (coxswain Christine Candland, Diane Leigh, Allison Brennan, Nora Phillips and Schafer Bomstein), as it earned an automatic berth in the final race by winning its heat on Friday.

The Varsity Eight (coxswain Caitlin Mixter, Jennifer Cromwell, Rebecca Ryall, Lauren Hutchins, Kelsie Chaudoin, Desiree Burns, Augusta Stratos, Bridget Wandelt, Katrin Sydlik), meanwhile, will compete in the Petite Final (places 7-12) on Sunday.

In its semifinal race, the Varsity Eight had a fourth-place finish with a time of 6:36.92. After being in fourth place through the first 500 meters, the Cavaliers battled back and pulled into second place, trailing just Brown, with 500 meters left to row.

Washington and Michigan State moved up, however, and the Cavaliers had to settle for fourth place. Brown won with a time of 6:34.93, followed by Washington (6:36.37) and Michigan State (6:36.64). With their time of 6:36.92, the Cavaliers were within a second of the second and third-place finishers.

2008 NCAA Championships
Saturday, May 31
Lake Natoma | Sacramento, Calif.

Varsity Eight (Semifinal 2): 1. Brown (6:34.93); 2. Washington (6:36.37); 3. Michigan State (6:36.64); 4. Virginia (6:36.92); 5. Southern California (6:46.00); 6. Michigan (6:48.60)

Second Varsity Eight (Repechage 1): 1. Virginia (6:47.83); 2. California (6:48.87); 3. Washington State (6:52.89); 4. Yale (6:56.01); 5. Harvard (6:57.72)

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