GOLD RIVER, Calif. – After competition on a gorgeous day on Lake Natoma where the conference championships are annually held, the No. 7 Washington women’s rowing team came home with a second place team finish. The novice 8+ boat took home gold (6:49.8), the varsity 4+ (7:13.2) and varsity 8+ (6:21.9) took silver and the 2V8+ took home fourth in the stacked conference field.
Head Coach Bob Ernst was pleased with what his team showed on Sunday.
“I thought it was a good performance. It was a conference championship so so much of it depends on not only how good your team is but how your seedings turn out. I thought that overall the team did a great job, but we want to win this conference championship. Hats off to Stanford, though, they had a really great performance today winning three of the four races,” Ernst commented.
This is the third time in three years the Dawgs have placed in the top-three as a team at Pac-12s, and the second in three years they have come in second.
The novice 8+s were first up on the schedule and turned out to be an excellent way to start off the momentum for the Huskies. The pups would top of their undefeated season with a conference championship following a near perfect race.
From the start, the novices jumped out to an early lead and would never lose it. At the halfway mark their lead was only four seats on the next closest boat, UCLA. By the end of the race, they had blown their lead open and would cross with open water to spare in a time of 6:49.8, five seconds in front of the Bruins.
Next up was the V4+, who despite significant line-up changes the 4+ put up an amazing race. A spectacular final-500 meters secured the silver for the Huskies, and nearly won them the gold, but the boat from Stanford would hold on to win.
Third for the women was the 2V8+ race, which would end up being the second closest race of the day throughout the field. Between the first boat crossing and the last, less than 20 seconds elapsed.
Eventually the crews from Stanford and UCLA would separate themselves slightly, but not by much. The Husky boat got off to a slow start, and was hanging around sixth place for the first quarter of the course, but made a charge and by the 1000-meter mark was neck-and-neck with the California boat in contention for the bronze finish. The Golden Bears would keep the slight advantage finishing just over one second in front of UW, who finished in 6:40.6.
“I was really pleased to see the freshman have an undefeated season again,” Ernst continued. “I also think that Colin Sykes has done an excellent job with the 4+. I know that if we get a bid to the NCAA Championships, we’re still in the hunt to try to win that.”
The final race for the women Saturday was a barn-burner. The closest race of the day, by far, on either the men’s or the women’s side was decided by a spread, from first to seventh, of 10.2 seconds. And through the first half of the race, it seemed like the Dawgs were going to get stuck battling for third with Cal, again.
But at the 1,500-mark, both Cal and UW took over the then-second-place crew from USC to move into second and third, respectively. The Huskies weren’t satisfied with that, however, and made an amazing push in the sprint to pull even with the Bears. With one final push, UW (6:21.9) would take the silver medal from Cal by .6 seconds but couldn’t quite catch the Cardinal boat, which finished just one second in front of the Dawgs.
“I know how fast these girls can go. The winning time was 6:21 and we were 6:22 into a cross-head wind, so that was really good. I know our varsity is very, very good. They’re very good. What I told them was to keep supporting each other and to stay healthy, because I want to see them have a chance to race the very best and Indianapolis,” Ernst finished.
With Stanford’s sweep of everything but the N8+, the Huskies could not overcome the Cardinal’s point total of 44.5, but would earn second overall with 35.5 points. Cal would round out the top-three with 32 points.
Pac-12 Networks will be taping the races to be shown delayed on Sat. May 24 at 9:30 a.m. and 10 p.m., Mon. May 26 at 12:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and Tue. May 27 at 6 p.m. (all times PT).
Up next for Washington will likely be the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis starting on May 30 and running through June 1. The selection show for the championship is this coming Tuesday, May 20 at 2 p.m. PT.
1. WASHINGTON, 6:49.8
2. UCLA, 6:54.8
3. Stanford, 7:01.8
4. California, 7:02.8
5. Washington State, 7:09.9
6. Oregon State, 7:14.9
7. USC, 7:19.8
1. Stanford, 7:13.2
2. WASHINGTON, 7:17.1
3. California, 7:19.8
4. Washington State, 7:30.5
5. UCLA, 7:33.5
6. USC, 7:35.8
7. Oregon State, 7:47.7
SECOND VARSITY 8+
1. Stanford, 6:34.2
2. UCLA, 6:37.1
3. California, 6:39.2
4. WASHINGTON, 6:40.6
5. Washington State, 6:41.8
6. USC, 6:47.2
7. Oregon State, 6:52.4
1. Stanford, 6:20.8
2. WASHINGTON, 6:21.9
3. California, 6:22.5
4. USC, 6:24.9
5. UCLA, 6:29.5
6. Washington State, 6:30.8
7. Oregon State, 6:31.0