April 5, 2009
SAN DIEGO - The future of Husky crew looks extremely bright, with both the novice women and the freshman men winning gold Sunday in the San Diego Crew Classic finals. The junior varsity women also took gold, with Washington's other three boats each earning silver.
"We have a good team," said Director of Rowing and women's head coach Bob Ernst. "We have good depth in the program."
The Huskies started the day with the women's varsity eight Jessop-Whittier Cup grand final. Washington got off to a good start, holding about a one seat lead after the first 500 meters, holding off Michigan and USC. Michigan made its move in the second 500, building a one seat lead of its own, pushing Washington into third place, behind USC. In the third 500, the Wolverines extended their lead, and the Huskies jockeyed into second, taking a slight edge over USC. Washington and Wisconsin both moved in the last 500, with the Huskies ensuring a second-place finish and Wisconsin pulling into third. Michigan pulled off about a two-seat victory in the race, with the Huskies crossing the finish in 6:45.83.
"We'll see Michigan again later in the season, I'm sure," said Ernst. "Michigan raced Princeton and Brown last weekend and beat them by four and six seconds, I think. I think they're feeling very confident right now and they just did a great job out there. For our first race of the year, I think we had a pretty good outing. We have a lot of new kids, especially in the varsity - we have a freshman stroking. I thought [Sarah Aylard] did a good job and her teammates backed her up. Right now, we just need to get some nice water for training. We're looking forward to getting back to our home water and getting some more training and more speed work done because we have Washington State next week in Pullman and then the all-important Cal dual two weeks later at home in the Cut."
Washington's varsity men were up next, looking to retain the Copley Cup for another year. The Huskies were in lane two, lined up next to Cal in lane three and Stanford in lane one. California got out to a quick lead, holding a half a length advantage after 500 meters. By the halfway point, the Huskies had closed the gap somewhat and Harvard was challenging for second with Stanford coming up just behind. In the third 500, Washington made a move, closing in on Cal and holding off Harvard and Stanford. The final sprint saw very close racing by all four crews, with Washington continuing to gain on Cal and nearly edging the Golden Bears. The Huskies took silver in the Copley Cup, losing by about two seats and finishing the race in 5:52.61.
"We showed a lot of strengths on the race course today," said head men's coach Michael Callahan. "I believe we have a special group of kids and I'm excited to see what we are going to do. It's back to work at the Conibear Shellhouse."
In the third race, the women's JV eight battled with Michigan, looking to avenge the varsity boat's loss two races earlier. Both crews got off to quick starts off the line and held nearly even by the end of the first 500. By the halfway mark, the Huskies had taken a slight lead over the Wolverines and Wisconsin and USC were both challenging. All four crews were within two seats of each other. Washington began to assert its dominance in the third 500, taking a half a length lead over Michigan, dropping them to third, with USC pulling into second. While Michigan and USC battled for second, the Huskies dropped the hammer, crossing the line about six seats ahead of the Wolverines in 7:00.0.
The men's JV eight hoped to follow the women's success, lining up in lane one on the shore side. After the first 500, the Huskies were in the thick of things, battling with Cal, Harvard and Stanford, with all four crews nearly even. Washington made a move in the second 500, pulling into second place and trailing Cal by about three seats. The Huskies picked up the pace in the third 500, making up ground and getting within two seats of Cal. Washington slipped some in the final stretch, dropping back by a half a length, earning silver in the race, crossing the line in 6:11.02.
After a break, Washington took to the water again for the women's novice eights. The Huskies took an early lead they never relinquished. After the first 500, Washington led by about half a length, a margin they maintained throughout the race. Oregon State was the Huskies' closest competitor, but the Beavers never got closer than three seats. Washington coasted to a six-seat victory, crossing the line in 7:16.97.
"Nicole [Minnet]'s novices were a classy-looking bunch," commented Ernst. "They just did a great job out there."
The final UW race was the men's freshman eight. Washington and Cal jumped off the line and remained bow ball to bow ball through the first 750 meters, neither willing to settle. The Golden Bears dropped back at around the halfway point and the Huskies took advantage, opening up an open water lead with 500 meters to go. In the final sprint, Washington asserted its dominance, crossing the line with at least a length and a half of open water over Cal. The Huskies finished with a time of 6:09.13 to win the race.
"They had a good day," said freshman coach Luke McGee. "It was a lot of fun for them to actually get on the starting line and have a real race, something they've been training for since September. Now the task is going to be to keep them focused on the big picture, which is to win at IRAs. It will be nice to get home and get back to ground zero, training-wise. We have two weeks before we race again, so it will be good to not have to worry about a race and just get back to training."
"[The freshmen] have strong chemistry and it's fun to be part of their development," added Callahan. "Luke [McGee] is doing an excellent job teaching these students how to be Huskies."
The Huskies are back in action next Saturday with the annual Washington State dual on the Snake River. Live in-race updates will be on the official UW Husky Crew Twitter page, GoHuskies.com.
Jessop-Whittier Cup (Women's Varsity Eight)
Cox: Isabelle Woodward
Stroke: Veronica Tamsitt
7: Kayleigh Mack
6: Erika Shaw
5: Adrienne Martelli
4: Kira O'Sullivan
3: Kim Kennedy
2: Hanne Trafnik
Bow: Jennifer Park