May 15, 2011
GOLD RIVER, Calif. - A pair of Washington boats brought home medals from the Pac-10 Championships on Sunday, and now the Huskies' focus to turns to the NCAA Championships.
The Huskies took home a silver medal in the varsity four, along with a bronze in the novice eights, despite facing quartering winds and, at times, heavy rains.
Top-ranked Cal won the 2011 Pac-10 title with a dominating performance, taking three of four races on the 2,000-meter course on Lake Natoma.
Overall, the Huskies finished fourth among the seven competing teams in the Pac-10. Now the Huskies wait to see if they are selected for the NCAA Championships at the end of the month, which will also be held on Lake Natoma. Washington is one of three schools to have made each NCAA Tournament since its inception in 1997. The selection show can be watched live on the NCAA's website beginning at 2 p.m. (PST).
The Huskies varsity four shrugged off a slow start to overtake several crews heading into the final 500 meters of the race. But the Huskies couldn't overtake a Golden Bears boat that finished in a time of 7:14.6, four seconds ahead of UW's 7:18.7. Washington was fourth at the midway point of the race, but a well-time sprint pulled the Huskies past USC, who finished third.
The novice eight finished on the podium as well, finishing third behind victorious Cal and Oregon State. For the Huskies, the race marked novice coach Nicole Minett's last with the program after three years, a period that included two Pac-10 gold medals.
Washington's second varsity eight nearly finished with a medal, but could not take down USC in a sprint towards the finish line. Stanford notched its lone win of the afternoon with an unyielding effort, taking first by open water of second-place Cal. The Huskies, who finished with a time of 6:36.2, were five seats behind the Trojans.
Those Husky crews enjoyed moderate conditions on Lake Natoma, a course known for its blistering temperatures in May. This was quite the contrary for the varsity eight race, which wasn't able to beat the thunderstorm forecasted for the area. Facing a mélange of rain, hail and wind that wrecked the course, neither of the teams racing were able to post fast times. For example, Cal's winning mark of 7:02.1 was 10 seconds slower than its novice eight's time. The Huskies crossed the finish line fifth with a time of 7:17.8.