May 31, 2003
CAMDEN, N.J. - Washington crews collected a gold medal and a pair of silvers Saturday in one of the school's finest performances in recent history at the Intercollegiate rowing Association (IRA) men's national championships on the Cooper River.
Top-ranked Harvard remained undefeated in the varsity eight to win the national title over second-place Washington which also was the runner-up in the second varsity (junior varsity) event. The Huskies' came away with the national championship in the varsity four competition.
The first-place finish in the fours capped a brilliant day for Washington. It marked the highest combined finishes by the Huskies' fleet of crews since 1997 when they swept top honors in the varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four events.
"I thought it was probably one of the best days that our program has had since I've been the head coach for the men," said 16th-year men's head coach Bob Ernst. "I would have loved to win the varsity race or the jayvee race, but our guys had their best races of the year and the other teams were just a little bit better."
Championship racing took place in ideal conditions early Saturday morning, just ahead of rain and windy conditions that followed in the afternoon. The racing schedule was altered Friday in anticipation of the inclement weather and the finals went off several hours earlier than originally scheduled.
The varsity four boat continued a streak that has seen at least one Washington crew win a national championship during each of the last three years.
The Huskies jumped out to an early lead in the fours and went wire-to-wire for the victory. North Carolina made a move 750 meters into the race and again at the 1,250-meter mark. Both times the Tar Heels gained one or two seats, but both times they were turned back when UW responded to the challenge. Over the final 500 meters, Washington stretched the margin with an impressive sprint to finish with open water.
"The guys just really went out and executed to the level that I have seen them perform in practice," said intern Sean Mulligan who coaches the varsity four. "They raced perfectly and led from start to finish. They put it all out there in the final."
The Huskies clocked a time of 6-minutes, 32.06-seconds, finishing ahead of runner-up Columbia which finished at 6:35.76. North Carolina was third in 6:36.48 and California was fourth in 6:39.45.
Senior Jeff Jorgensen, the stroke on the UW four, collected his third career gold medal with Saturday's victory. He was a member of the Huskies' national championship open four crew in 2002 and rowed in a pair with Andy Altman that was victorious at the 2001 IRAs.
The second-ranked Washington varsity eight posed the most serious threat yet to Harvard's unblemished record. The Crimson dominated Eastern competition throughout the regular season.
Harvard completed the 2,000-meter course in 5:42.31, one boat length ahead of Washington's time of 5:47.23. The Huskies finished over one second ahead of four-time defending champion California which finished in 5:48.33. Last year's runner-up, Wisconsin, was fourth in 5:48.68.
"The guys rowed to win and gave Harvard their best test this year," Ernst remarked. "Basically, we're the only team that's even given them a race. Usually they have just rowed away from everybody in the first 500 meters."
Washington maintained a narrow lead over the opening third of the race and the teams were even at the midway marker. Harvard surged with 700 meters remaining and UW was unable to respond to the move. The Crimson finished with a little bit of open water over the Pac-10 champion Huskies improved upon a third-place varsity performance at last year's IRAs.
Washington's second varsity medaled for the fifth straight season. Saturday's silver medal effort matched the 1999 and 2001 JV crews. The Huskies garnered bronze medals in the second varsity event in 2000 and 2002.
The second varsity grand final was the tightest race of the day with the top-four boats all finishing within four seconds of each other. Washington rowed even with the top crews over the entire course. California pulled ahead at the end to finish in 5:53.13, five seats ahead of the Huskies who finished in 5:55.65. Harvard placed third in 5:56.09 and Cornell was fourth at 5:57.07.
The Huskies finished fourth among freshman eights after winning the national title in 2001 and 2002. The order of finish from first through sixth place was as follows: Princeton (5:57.51), California (6:00.42), Harvard (6:00.56), Washington (6:02.68), Brown (6:03.06) and Wisconsin (6:06.96).
IRA Men's Rowing Championships
Saturday, May 31, 2003
Cooper River / Camden, N.J.
(all races 2,000 meters)
Grand Final Results
1, Harvard 5:43.41
2, Washington 5:47.23 3, California 5:48.33
4, Wisconsin 5:48.68
5, Northeastern 5:55.29
6, Cornell 5:58.52
UW lineup: cox- Ryan Marks, stroke- Ante Kusurin, 7- John Lorton, 6- Marko Petrovic, 5- Brett Newlin, 4- Giuseppe Lanzone, 3- Kyle Larson, 2- Sam Burns, bow- Andy Derrick.
SECOND VARSITY EIGHT (JUNIOR VARSITY)
1, California 5:53.13
2, Washington 5:55.65 3, Harvard 5:56.09
4, Cornell 5:57.07
5, Wisconsin 6:02.61
6, Stanford 6:06.70
7, Oregon State 6:11.02
UW lineup: cox- Chris O'Brien, stroke- Ian Sawyer, 7- Dusan Nikolic, 6- Scott Gault, 5- Gints Salaks, 4- Charles Minett, 3- John Taylor, 2- Seth Berling, bow- Matt Kopicky.
1, Washington 6:32.06 2, Columbia 6:35.76
3, North Carolina 6:36.48
4, California 6:39.45
5, Wisconsin 6:42.12
6, Harvard 6:49.21
UW lineup: cox- Melissa Wengard, stroke- Jeff Jorgensen, 3- John Kenfield, 2- Ben Fletcher, bow- Evan Galloway.
1, Princeton 5:57.51
2, California 6:00.42
3, Harvard 6:00.56 4, Washington 6:02.68 5, Brown 6:03.06
6, Wisconsin 6:06.96
UW lineup: cox- Adrian Andrews, stroke- Colin Phillips, 7- Daniel Harm, 6- Cooper Rooks, 5- Brodie Buckland, 4- Scott Schmidt, 3- Adam Van Winkle, 2- Craig Tyler, bow- Tyler Smith.