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WEST WINDSOR, N.J.-The Virginia rowing team advanced all three boats from semifinals to grand finals on the second day of the NCAA Championships on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J., on Saturday (May 26). The grand finals will be held on Sunday where the NCAA Championship team as well as national title boats will be determined.

“It was a good day,” head coach Kevin Sauer said. “Anytime you get all three boats to the grand finals at the NCAAs is a good thing. Princeton and Cal did it also and Michigan did well in the 1V8 and 2V8, so those teams and maybe a couple others will be in the hunt and we have to be ready for that.

“Our Varsity Eight had another great race, the 2V8 led for 1,250 (meters) and hung on for qualifying and the Four was second to an Ohio State boat that had a great race that they’ll respond to that tomorrow. We’re really excited about our opportunities.”

The Cavaliers are one of three schools (California and Princeton) to advance all three boats to the grand finals. This is the eighth time Virginia has made all three grand finals in NCAA Championship history, the last being 2010 when the Cavaliers won the national title.

“To have all three boats make it through to the (grand) final is a great step,” associate head coach Steve Pritzker said. “Any of four teams can win the team title tomorrow and we’ll do everything we can to be prepared.”

In the First Varsity Eight, the Cavaliers used a strong second half of the race to win by about a length over Southern California in a time of 6:13.35. USC placed second in 6:17.48, while California picked up third in 6:19.04. Those three move on to the grand final on Sunday at 12:05 p.m., where the Cavaliers posted the best time of the semifinals.

The Second Varsity Eight race was the most competitive as well as the most nerve wrenching of the regatta with Princeton, Virginia and Brown all fighting for two spots in the grand final. Cal won the heat in 6:30.58, while Princeton placed second in 6:32.89. Virginia edged Brown by less than a second (6:33.54-5:34.43) for the final slot. The 2V8 grand final is at 11:15 a.m., on Sunday.

Virginia placed second in Varsity Four in 7:10.70, behind a strong Ohio State boat that finished in 7:05.52. The Cavaliers were able to fight off Princeton (7:12.43) and UCLA (7:14.45) to move on. The Varsity Four grand final is on Sunday at 10:25 a.m.

The Cavaliers won the 2010 NCAA title and have finished second three times (1999, 2005, 2007). Seven UVa boats have won national titles, with the Second Varsity Eight claiming the title in 1998, 1999 and 2005, while the Varsity Four has won in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010. The First Varsity Eight has never won a national title, but has finished second three times (1999, 2009, 2010).

In an exhibition pairs race on Friday, Maddie Keating and Catherine Multari placed second to Ohio State.

The action begins at 9 a.m., with the Division II finals. The DI races start at 9:50 a.m.

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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