March 27, 2004
SEATTLE - Experience proved to be the deciding factor as the senior class won both the men's and women's featured races Saturday when the Washington rowing team opened its 2004 racing season with the 103rd-annual Class Day Regatta on the Montlake Cut.
The Husky men's class of 2004 went wire-to-wire to convincingly capture the George M. Varnell trophy. The senior crew won by three boat-lengths, completing the 2,000-meter course in 6-minutes, 2-seconds. The juniors finished six seconds back in 6:08, followed by the sophomores in third at 6:11 and the freshman fourth at 6:22.
"We've been prepared to win ever since our freshman year, but we've gotten it taken away from us every year," said senior coxswain Chris O'Brien (Cincinnati, Ohio). "Our class has taken second place by a few seconds every year so we wanted to finally end it with a bang our senior year."
The senior women won The Seattle Times trophy with a winning time of 6:57. The seniors overcame a six-seat deficit midway through the race to cross the finish line one boat-length ahead of the sophomores who finished in 7:02. The junior class was third with a time of 7:07 followed by the novice crew in 7:11.
"The freshmen jumped the start and the rookies (sophomores) were rowing at a high rate because they wanted to blow ahead and hope that we would fall back," described Megan Mach (Seattle, Wash./Ballard HS) the coxswain for the senior women's crew. "We were down six or seven seats at 750 meters before we started walking through them because they went out too hard and died."
Varsity rowers were victorious in the men's varsity-novice challenge as the winning eight finished with an open-water lead in 6:31. A varsity four rowed against three eights in the race and was second across the finish line. The four-oared entry was granted a 20-second head start to level the field against the eights. A freshman eight-oared crew finished third in 6:45.
The other race on the four-event card, the women's varsity-novice challenge, was won by the novice entry coxed by Lauren Anderson (Seattle, Wash./Ballard HS). The winning novice boat posted a time of 7:45 followed two lengths back by a varsity-novice combined entry in 7:52.
Class Day racing began in 1901, two years before Washington hosted California on June 3, 1903 for the school's inaugural intercollegiate race.
Post-race festivities included the presentation of several awards and the announcement of team captains for the 2004 season. The Schaller Scholarship Award, presented to the rowers with the highest grade point average, went to junior Gemma Edward-Aron (San Anselmo, Calif.) on the women's side and junior Evan Galloway (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge Island HS) for the men.
Most Inspirational awards were presented to junior Dana Ryan (LaJolla, Calif.) and senior Ian Harrison (Saanichton, B.C.). The Katie Horst Memorial Award, presented to the most inspirational novice woman, was given to Andrea Sooter (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue Christian HS) while the men's Chuck Holtz Memorial Scholarship went to junior Jacob Pettit (Snohomish, Wash./Snohomish HS).
The Dick Erickson Scholarship recipient was junior Kyle Larson (Mt. Vernon, Wash./Mt. Vernon HS).
Two new women's racing shells were dedicated Saturday. The "Jan Harville" was named in honor of the successful coach who retired in July after leading the Washington women to three NCAA team championships. The "Irma Erickson" was named in honor of the longtime Husky rowing supporter and wife of former UW men's coach Dick Erickson.
The Huskies resume competition next weekend. The top UW crews will participate at the San Diego Crew Classic, April 3-4. The remaining UW crews will compete Saturday, April 3 in the Husky Invitational at 7 a.m. on the Montlake Cut.
The Washington women were ranked 10th in the preseason coaches poll. UW returns only two rowers from the crew that placed fourth in the varsity eight event at the 2003 NCAA Championships. Seniors Mary Reeves (Dayton, Wash./Dayton HS) and Yvonneke Stenken (Sacramento, Calif.) are the only holdovers from last season's top boat.
The changes aren't limited to the athletes as the UW women's coaching staff underwent a major overhaul. Eleanor McElvaine takes over as the women's head coach after serving 13 seasons as an assistant coach under Harville. Sean Mulligan was hired as the assistant varsity coach while Erica Schwab will work as the novice women's coach. All three members of the staff are former crew competitors at Washington.
Washington was ranked No. 2 in the men's preseason poll. The Huskies return six rowers from last year's top boat that won the Pacific-10 Conference championship and claimed the silver medal at the IRA Championships. A seventh returning rower, Ian Sawyer (Aukland, New Zealand), joined the Husky varsity eight that won the Ladies Challenge Plate at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in England.
Bob Ernst begins his 30th season on the UW rowing staff, his 17th as the men's head coach. Ernst seeks to direct the Husky men to their first national championship since 1997.
WASHINGTON CLASS DAY RESULTS
(all events are 2,000 meters)
George M. Varnell Men's Eight
1, Seniors (cox-Chris O'Brien, stroke-Ian Saywer, 7-Andy Derrick, 6-Sam Burns, 5-Ian Harrison, 4-Marko Petrovic, 3-John Taylor, 2-Seth Berling, bow-Matt Semritc), 6:02. 2, Juniors, 6:08. 3, Sophomores, 6:11. 4, Freshmen, 6:22.
The Seattle Times Women's Eight
1, Seniors (cox-Megan Mach, stroke-Mary Reeves, 7-Sanda Hangan, 6-Signe Johannes, 5-Sarah Hubbard, 4-Katie Gardner, 3-Alina Tabacaru, 2-Nicole Mazikowski, bow-Yvonneke Stenken), 6:57. 2, Sophomores, 7:02. 3, Juniors, 7:07. 4, Novice, 7:11.
Men's Varsity-Novice Challenge
1, Varsity (cox-Stephen Hertzfeld, stroke-Will Osborn, 7-Dusan Nikolic, 6-Dan McKeegan, 5-Dominic Parker, 4-Ryne Dengenis, 3-Richard Tarbill, 2-Thomas Schlenker, bow-Michael Quann), 6:31. 2, Varsity Four (cox-Queena Cheung, stroke-Martin Rogulia, 3-Ben Fletcher, 2-Brett Newlin, bow-Jacob Pettit), 7:02. 3, Freshman "A", 6:45. 4, Freshman "B", 6:54.
Women's Varsity-Novice Challenge
1, Novice "A" (cox-Lauren Anderson, stroke-Jenna Hall, 7-Andrea Smith, 6-Karen Magnuson, 5-Asiha Grisby, 4-Anne Buher, 3-Alyssa Meinhold, 2-Erica Tom, bow-Amelie Mabbutt), 7:45. 2, Varsity-Novice combined, 7:52. 3, Novice "B", 7:59.