Princeton has now placed in the Top 4 in each of the last four NCAA Championship regattas; this finish followed a team title performance at the inaugural Ivy League Sprints two weeks ago.
Virginia won the NCAA Championship with 87 team points, while Michigan finished second with 82 points. California edged Princeton for third with 78 points, while Princeton claimed fourth with 77 points. Ohio State rounded out the top five with 67 points.
The next closest Ivy League program in the team standings was Yale, which placed 10th.
"It was a great weekend," head coach Lori Dauphiny said. "Looking at our results from Sprints, it was true that we were very strong as a team. But it's been over 10 years since we have gotten every boat in the NCAA grand final. I am very proud of them for fighting so hard from Sprints to Nationals to make this a great regatta."
The varsity eight had team championship aspirations at the start of its race, but Virginia took early control of the final and pulled away from Michigan in a winning time of 6:18.72. The Wolverines finished comfortably in second in 6:22.09, and USC and Princeton battled for third. The Tigers, who impressed the rowing community by returning to the championship final despite losing half of its gold medal-winning crew from 2011, fell just short of USC; the Trojans took third in 6:25.06, while Princeton took fourth in 6:25.90. The Tigers did beat California, which came into the weekend ranked first nationally.
Princeton has now placed its varsity eight in the grand final in eight of the last nine years, including each of the last four. It continues an impressive run for Dauphiny, who has led Princeton to the NCAA Championship regatta every year it has been held (since 1997).
"I thought that was their best performance," Dauphiny said of her top boat. "If you look at it, they were closer to both Michigan and USC than they were during the regular season. It shows that we increased speed during the year."
The second varsity, which waited more than an hour to compete because of a weather delay, posted an impressive fourth-place finish in its grand final, which completed a season that also included an Ivy Sprints title. The first bit of drama in the race came when UCLA, which looked like an early contender, caught a crab and came to a stop in the middle of the race.
That opened a Big 10 duel between Michigan and Ohio State, which the Wolverines won in 6:37.04. Ohio State fought off California for second in 6:38.94, while Princeton held off a push from Virginia to take fourth in 6:42.61.
It was the best finish for the second eights since 2003, when Princeton also finished fourth in the grand final. That finish helped the Tigers to a seventh-place team finish at that championship regatta.
The varsity four was the first grand final of the morning, and from the start, it was a showdown between Virginia and Ohio State for the individual gold. Virginia sprinted away from the field at the start, but Ohio State made up ground through the middle of the race.
Meanwhile, California established itself in third, and Princeton and Yale battled for fourth. The Tigers, who went undefeated during the Ivy League regular season, didn’t have enough to move past Yale in the final 300, and they ended up placing fifth in a time of 7:26.23.
The fifth-place finish was Princeton’s best in the varsity fours since the Tigers placed fourth in the 2007 grand final.
Ohio State used a dramatic final 500 to win the race in 7:13.09, while Virginia took second in 7:15.18. California took third in 7:21.15.
"I think all three boats fell a little shy of what they hoped for today," Dauphiny said. "I think they are happy, exhausted and slightly disappointed in the results today. It's all mixed emotions. I think when they look back, they'll see that this was outstanding. Being fourth in the nation? Outrageous. I'm super proud of them."
The heavyweight men and both the lightweight men and women will compete this week on Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J., for the IRA national championships.
Varsity Eight Grand Final
1) Virginia 6:18.72
2) Michigan 6:22.09
3) USC 6:25.06
4) Princeton 6:25.90
5) California 6:27.19
6) Washington 6:29.11
Second Varsity Eight Grand Final
1) Michigan 6:37.04
2) Ohio State 6:38.94
3) California 6:40.85
4) Princeton 6:42.61
5) Virginia 6:44.97
6) UCLA 7:10.40
Varsity Four Grand Final
1) Ohio State 7:13.09
2) Virginia 7:15.18
3) California 7:21.15
4) Yale 7:23.53
5) Princeton 7:26.23
6) Washington 7:29.20
Varsity Eightcox: Lila Flavin '12
8: Heidi Robbins '13
7: Kelsey Reelick '14
6: Molly Hamrick '13
5: Kelly Pierce '12
4: Gabby Cole '13
3: Angie Gould '14
2: Liz Hartwig '13
1: Margaret Daly '12
Second Varsity Eightcox: Annie Prasad '14
8: Annaliese Ionson '15
7: Liza McBride '15
6: Astrid Wettstein '13
5: Sara Kushma '13
4: Kathryn Irwin '14
3: Emily Gass '12
2: Margaret Bertasi '14
1: Faith Richardson '15
Varsity Fourcox: Olivia Sayvetz '15
4: Olivia McShea '15
3: Nicole Bielawski '13
2: Ahsen Cebeci '14
1: Sarah Wiley '13