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WEST WINDSOR, N.J.-The Virginia rowing team advanced all three boats to the semifinals on the first day of the NCAA Championships on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J., Friday (May 25). Both the First Varsity Eight and Varsity Four posted the best times in their divisions.

“We had some good races this morning,” head coach Kevin Sauer said. “It was a good first step having the Varsity Eight and Varsity Four post the best times and the 2V8 having a good confidence booster, but it just means we’re in the hunt. We have to take another step tomorrow morning.”

“Today was a good start for the team,” associate head coach Steve Pritzker said. “We will need to be ready for some incredibly tough racing tomorrow, but the girls are excited to learn from today and make the necessary adjustments.”

The First Varsity Eight won its heat by open water over Washington in a 2000-meter time of 6:37.03. The Huskies finished second in 6:43.51, while Harvard was third in 6:44.18. Brown and Yale also competed in the heat.

The Cavaliers jumped out to a two-seat lead over Washington at the 500-meter mark, before extending the lead to almost a full length at the halfway mark.

In the Second Varsity Eight, the Cavaliers moved up in the middle of the race to finish second in 6:55.04. Michigan won the heat in 6:50.77, while Yale was third in 6:57.78. Stanford and Notre Dame finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Virginia captured the second heat of the Varsity Four by open water in a time of 7:16.70. Washington was second in 7:21.32, just ahead of UCLA in 7:21.70. Stanford and Michigan rounded out the heat.

The Cavaliers were slightly behind at the 500-meter mark, but opened up to nearly a two and a half length lead by the 1500m line.

Virginia is one of six schools to advance all three boats through the heats, including California, Ohio State, Princeton, UCLA and Washington.

The action continues Saturday at 9 a.m., with the Division I semifinals.

Virginia Lineups:

First Varsity Eight: Coxswain Sidney Thorsten, Keziah Beall, Martha Kuzzy, Kristine O’Brien, Sarah Cowburn, Fiona Schlesinger, Susanne Grainger, Hemingway Benton, Carli Goldberg

Second Varsity Eight: Coxswain Sarah Jordan, Chandler Lally, Elle Murray, Kaitlin Fanikos, Brandy Herald, Liza Tullis, MacKenzie Leahy, Sarah Borchelt, Morgan Joseph

Varsity Four: Coxswain Cristine Candland, Ruth Retzinger, Hunter Terry, Chelsea Simpson, Carolyn Glandorf

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