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UW Varsity Eight Secures Spot in IRA Grand Final
Release: 06/01/2001
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June 1, 2001


CAMDEN, NJ -- The Washington men's varsity eight finished third in its semi-final and secured the final spot in Saturday's championship race while the freshman eight won its semi-final the junior varsity won its repechage on the second day of racing at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships on the Cooper River.

The sixth-ranked Husky varsity eight, racing in a stacked semi-final that included Eastern Sprints Champion and second-ranked Princeton and perennial powers Northeastern, No. 7 Penn, No. 9 Wisconsin and Stanford, covered the 2,000-meter in a time of 5:54.42 to finish third. The Tigers led from start to finish and won the heat by a boat length over the field, at 5:50.74, while Northeastern was second in 5:53.69.

Two-time defending champion and top-ranked California, undefeated this season, won the first semi-final of the day, winning in 5:57.43, open water ahead of Brown at 6:01.77 and Cornell at 6:03.05. The top three boats from each semi-final make up the grand final field that will race for Varsity Challenge Cup Saturday afternoon.

Washington's freshman eight also raced in its semi-final and won easily, advancing to the grand final with a time of 5:59.72. Princeton was second at 6:04.63 and had open water on third place Wisconsin at 6:08.12. California won the first semi-final at 5:57.09, followed by Brown (6:00.84) and Northeastern (6:04.86), to fill out the final field.

Washington's second varsity won its repechage heat in a time of 5:56.34. The win puts the junior varsity crew in the Kennedy Challenge Cup grand final. The Huskies crossed the line ahead of second place Northeastern and Yale who battled to a narrow finish at 5:58.77 and 5:58.84, respectively. Princeton and Cornell were winners in the other two repechages, to fill out the grand final that will include Brown, Wisconsin and west coast rival California.

Here is a look at the IRA grand finals schedule for Saturday (all times EST) (lanes 1-6, left to right):

10:54 a.m. - Varsity Pair w/out coxswain (Cornell-A, Rutgers, Brown, Washington, Wisconsin, Cornell-B)

1:45 p.m. - Steward's Cup - Freshman eight (Northeastern, Brown, California, Washington, Princeton, Wisconsin)

2:15 p.m. - Kennedy Challenge Cup - Second varsity eight (Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Wisconsin, California, Washington)

4:00 p.m. - Varsity Challenge Cup - First varsity eight (Cornell, Northeastern, Princeton, California, Brown, Washington)

The first varsity eight competes for the Varsity Challenge Cup, the silver cup first presented in 1898. Washington has won the cup 11 times, dating back to 1923, and most recently in 1997.

The junior varsity competes for the Kennedy Challenge Cup, originally presented in 1899. The Huskies have won the cup 10 times, most recently in 1997.

The freshman men race for the Steward's Cup, begun in 1900. Washington won the cup in 1997, completing a Husky sweep of all three premier races. It was the 10th Steward Cup victory for UW and the first since 1969. Prior to the sweep in 1997, it was 50 years ago that Washington last swept all three races.

The Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta is the oldest collegiate rowing championship in the country, and remains the premier event for national rowing honors for college men. The first IRA Regatta, on June 24, 1895, was a four-miler between Columbia, the winner, Cornell and Pennsylvania.

In 1923, Washington, coached by Rusty Callow, became the first Western school to win the IRA, followed by another victory in 1926. When Callow left Seattle to coach at Pennsylvania, he was succeeded by his assistant Al Ulbrickson, who continued the Husky winning ways with six IRA titles in 1936, 1937, 1940, 1941 and 1950. His freshman, jayvee and varsity crews "swept the river" in '36, '37, '48 and '49. Current Husky coach Bob Ernst led his Washington team to a modern-day sweep in 1997, when UW crews won all three races on the Cooper River, site of the 2001 Championships.

A Look Back at 2000: Washington's varsity eight was left off the medal stand for the first time since 1994 as it finished fourth in the Varsity Challenge Cup grand final at the 2000 IRA Championships. California won the gold medal for the second year in a row while Brown was second and Princeton third. The second varsity (junior varsity) earned a bronze medal in the Kennedy challenge Cup and the freshman eight won a silver medal in the Steward's Cup. The varsity four placed fifth in its race.

Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta Men's National Championships
Cooper River (2,000 meters), Camden, NJ (Cross-head wind, overcast, intermittent light rain)

Results - Friday, June 1, 2001

First Varsity Eight

Semi 1
1 California5:57.43
2 Brown6:01.77
3 Cornell6:03.05
4 Oregon St.6:06.65
5 Dartmouth6:07.04
6 Dowling6:16.99
Semi 2
1 Princeton5:50.74
2 Northeastern5:53.69
3 Washington5:54.42
4 Wisconsin5:57.22
5 Penn5:57.62
6 Stanford6:12.51
Freshman Eight
Semi 1
1 Calfornia5:57.09
2 Brown6:00.84
3 Northeastern6:04.86
4 Rutgers6:06.71
5 Marist6:15.72
6 Navy6:20.68
Semi 2
1 Washington5:59.72
2 Princeton6:04.63
3 Wisconsin6:08.12
4 Oregon St.6:08.63
5 Penn6:20.16
6 Cornell6:21.32
Second Varsity Eight Repechage
Rep 2
1 Washington5:56.34
2 N'eastern5:58.77
3 Yale5:58.84
4 Penn6:08.62
5 Virginia6:30.04
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