March 27, 2008
SEATTLE -- The University of Washington opens its 105th season of intercollegiate crew competition with an even longer running tradition. The Huskies start the 2008 season with their 107th-annual Class Day Regatta, Saturday, Mar. 29 at 10 a.m. on the Montlake Cut.
The Class Day Regatta, which annually signals the beginning of UW's spring racing season, features four races.
On the docket are a women's varsity-novice challenge at 10 a.m. followed at 10:10 a.m. by the men's varsity-freshmen challenge. The two featured races involve competition for shellhouse bragging rights between the freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior classes. Crews are comprised of rowers from the same class, with the fastest women's eight from each class competing for the Seattle Times Cup at 10:20 a.m. and the men's eights vying for the George M. Varnell Cup at 10:30 a.m.
Class Day racing started in 1901, two years before Washington hosted California on June 3, 1903 for the school's inaugural intercollegiate race. UW defeated Cal by three boat lengths in a four-oared event over a 1 1/2-mile Lake Washington Course.
Last year's Class Day Regatta featured a win by the junior boat in the men's race. That group returns to defend its Class Day title, this year as the senior entry. Coxswain Micah Perrin and six rowers from last season's victorious crew compete in the senior shell.
The seniors won the women's title at the 2007 Class Day event, posting a five second win over the juniors. That runner-up crew vies for this year's first-place position as a senior crew.
For the first time since the 1987 season, the Husky men will not be coached by Bob Ernst. UW's program coordinator returned to the women's head coaching post in July, a position he held from 1981-87. Ernst directed the UW men to the national championship last year.
The Husky men are now under the leadership of head coach Michael Callahan, who served the previous three seasons as UW's freshman coach.
Washington officially opens the 2008 season next weekend, competing at the San Diego Crew Classic, April 5-6 at Mission Bay.
THE MONTLAKE COURSE
The starting line for the Huskies' home regattas is on Lake Washington, parallel to the Evergreen Point floating bridge. The course runs from east to west through the Montlake Cut to the finish line near the mouth of Portage Bay at the west end of Montlake Cut. A good view of the race course is available along either side of Montlake Cut, or from the Montlake Bridge.
CLASS DAY SCHEDULE (all races 2,000 meters)
10:00 a.m. -- Women's Varsity-Novice Challenge
10:10 a.m. -- Men's Varsity-Novice Challenge
10:20 a.m. -- The Seattle Times Women's Eight
10:30 a.m. -- George M. Varnell Men's Eight