Chapman pair captures bronze medal at WIRA championships

Veronica Gomez (left) and Michelle O'Keefe
Veronica Gomez (left) and Michelle O'Keefe

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Chapman University duo of senior Michelle O'Keefe and junior Veronica Gomez crewed to a bronze medal at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) championships on Lake Natoma on Sunday. The Panthers came in third place in the women's pair event with a time of 8:41.5 in the finals.

It marks Chapman's first medal in a championship event since 2006.

O'Keefe and Gomez rallied from fifth place in the race to overtake third in the final lengths, edging out the boat from Sacramento State by 4 seconds to earn the bronze. The Panthers finished 17 seconds behind the two-person boat from Humboldt State (8:24.7). Portland State (8:28.0) placed second.

The Chapman duo qualified for the finals with a second place finish in their heat on Saturday. The Panthers' boat crossed the finish line in 8:50.7, just under 6 seconds behind Portland State.

Chapman's Varsity 8 boat placed last in both of its races on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The Panthers' best race came on the first day of the championships with a time of 7:42.2 on the course.

by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director