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Men's Rowing Moves to Grand Finals
Release: 06/21/1999
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May 29, 1998

CAMDEN, New Jersey -- Washington men's rowing continued its quest toward consecutive national titles as the varsity eight and freshmen eights each won their semi-final heats on day two of the 96th annual National Collegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships on the Cooper River Friday. The Huskies are the defending champions in the varsity, junior varsity and freshmen eight-oared races and will row in the grand final of each event.

The last time a Washington varsity crew won back-to-back IRA Championships came in 1940 and '41. In the 103-year history of the IRA, only 12 schools have won the Varsity Challenge Cup, and Washington has claimed 11 of those titles. Cornell is first with 26 titles, followed by Navy with 12. The UW junior varsity won three straight Kennedy Challenge Cups from 1948-50 and the freshmen had a string of five consecutive Stewards Cup victories from 1947-51.

The Husky varsity, which features four men who were in the IRA champion boat last year (Sean Mulligan, Bob Cummins, Brett Reisinger, Aaron Beck), will row in its grand final at 4:30 p.m. EST Saturday. The heat and lane assignments for the Varsity Challenge Cup are as follows: 1. Pennsylvania, 2. Georgetown, 3. Princeton, 4. Washington, 5. California, 6. Northeastern. Princeton won its semi-final heat in a time of 5:32.4, followed by Cal at 5:34.7 and Penn at 5:38.4. Penn and Princeton were winners at the Eastern Sprints early this month while California claimed the Pac-10 Championship, May 17, handing the Huskies their only loss of the season.

The freshmen eight will row in the first grand final of the day, for the Stewards Cup, at 1:15 p.m. EST. The field, in lane order, includes: 1.Wisconsin, 2. Brown, 3. Washington, 4. California, 5. Princeton and 6. Dartmouth.

The junior varsity, which had the day off after winning its Thursday heat and advancing directly to the grand final, will race at 2:15 p.m. EST. The Kennedy Challenge Cup field, which was filled after repechage heats Friday afternoon, includes: 1. Navy, 2. Penn, 3. Princeton, 4. Washington, 5. Wisconsin and 6. Brown.

The UW varsity took an early lead in its semi-final heat and went on to cross the finish line in a time of 5 minutes, 35.8 seconds over the 2,000-meter course. Georgetown crossed the line next at 5:37.5, followed by Northeastern at 5:37.8. Washington had a half boat length over Temple and Northeastern 400 meters into the race and then began to pull away at 500 meters, moving up a full boat length on the field. Northeastern continued to chase the Huskies but could get not closer than a three-quarters of a length heading into the final 800 meters.

"We had a solid heat," said UW coxswain Sean Mulligan. "We wanted to get a good start and get out in front of Northeastern and hold onto them. We were a little bit cleaner today, a little more controlled than we were yesterday. I expect a hard race in the final. It's going to be Princeton, Cal, Penn, even Northeastern, those guys are all tough, all really good crews.We know we can stick with them. It's just a matter of if we can get to the finish line ahead of them. We've taken the first two steps and gotten that done. Now we just want to take that final step."

"So far, so good," added UW coach Bob Ernst. "You really want to get there first in these semi-finals because then you have some perogrative as far as lanes go. It's important to win those semi-finals and the guys did what they needed to do. I really think the guys to beat here are going to be Princeton and California. We knew that coming in. We expect a great race and we're hoping we are a part of it. That's what you come to the national championships for; to see the best crews in the country tee it up. Ours guys know that probably the best athletes, who execute the best on the last race are going to win it all. They really look forward to these types of match-ups, where all the cards are on the table. It's exciting."

It was a race between Princeton and Washington in the freshmen semi-final. The two boats pulled away from the pack 700 meters into the race, putting open water between themselves and the field. With 1,000 meters to go, UW took a slight lead and increased it to a quarter-boat length with 500 meters to go. The Huskies crossed the line in 5:46.1, the fastest time of the three heats, and about half a boat length ahead of Princeton at 5:50.7.

Collegiate Men's Rowing
IRA National Championships
Cooper River, Camden, New Jersey
Day 2 Semi-final Results

Varsity Eight Semi-finals
Heat A: 1. Princeton 5:32.4; 2. California 5:34.7; 3. Penn 5:38.4; 4. Wisconsin 5:42.9; 5. Boston U. 5:44.9; 6. Navy 5:45.2. Heat B: 1. WASHINGTON 5:35.8; 2. Georgetown 5:37.5; 3. Northeastern 5:37.8; 4. Brown 5:41.4; 5. Temple 5:44.1; 6. New Hampshire 5:56.0. Heat C: 1. Cornell 5:48.4; 2. Rutgers 5:56.8; 3. Grand Valley 5:59.8; 4. Syracuse 6:03.0

*First three in semi-A and first three in semi-B advance to Grand Final; 4-5-6 in semi-A and semi-b move to Petite Final; first two in semi-C to third level final.

Freshman Eight Semi-finals
Heat A: 1. California 5:48.1; 2. Brown 5:48.4; 3. Wisconsin 5:49.9; 4. Rutgers 5:50.3; 5. Cornell 5:54.8; 6. Columbia 5:56.0 Heat B: 1. WASHINGTON 5:46.1; 2. Princeton 5:50.7; 3. Dartmouth 5:54.0; 4. Penn 5:57.8; 5. Syracuse 5:58.0; 6. Orange Coast 5:58.3. Heat C: 1. Georgetown 6:03.9; 2. Purdue 6:04.3; 3. MIT 6:08.0; 4. Michigan 6:10.5; 5. Boston U. 6:14.1.

*First three in semi-A and first three in semi-B advance to Grand Final; 4-5-6 in semi-A and semi-b move to Petite Final; first two in semi-C to third level final.

Washington Men's Rowing
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