SPU takes on NCAA wave

Konner Hancock

The Seattle Pacific University rowing team is preparing their fleet for their up and coming meet, and for a possible shot at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship tournament.

On May 17-18, the Falcons will compete in a two day meet in Oklahoma City, OK. That meet will be the final regular season matchup for SPU to set sail in. After that all eyes will be focused on the NCAA Selection Show, where the Falcons have a chance to be selected, which has not happened since the 2010-11 rowing season.

“We set the standards really high this year despite our youth and lack of large senior class,” said Andy Derrick, the rowing team’s head coach.

Derrick said he’s excited to see the team in the postseason if it comes to fruition. He said the teams is highly competitive and able to match up well with any of the other competitors taking part in the NCAA competition.

The Falcons however have good competition right before the NCAA Selection Show. The team will face defending national champion Central Oklahoma, who is listed at No. 1 on the national poll. SPU will also row against No. 7 Barry University on the Oklahoma River during the meet Friday and Saturday meet.

The Central Oklahoma varsity eight rowing squad has recorded first place finishes in all of their races for the past seven meets, which also includes the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships.

The Falcons will have to do their sizing up of the competition from afar, because the two teams have not met since late last season.

However, with all the competition coming SPU’s way, the team’s head coach has shown complete confidence in his rowers.

Derrick has stated that his team is comprised of athletes who are more than able to take down the competition moving forward, “They have done their very best to chase those standards down and in some cases knock them out of the park so at this point we still need to be focused on earning a bid, but they should be confident that if we are fortunate enough to do so.”

On May 4, after defeating Western Washington University, who is ranked one spot ahead of SPU in the western NCAA rankings, Derrick stated he did not want to be arrogant and say he expected the win over them, but, “I also will not be the least bit surprised if we both see each other again this season at the NCAA Championships, as part of a very deep representation of the West Region.

“The team has done an amazing job trusting our staff when we said, ‘If you can achieve this, and do that, you are probably going to earn the right to compete at the National Championship,’” Derrick said.