April 23, 2011
SEATTLE - The Huskies viewed the Cal Dual as a barometer to test their speed after a pair of encouraging regattas to start the season. And while Cal had the upper-hand against the Huskies on Saturday, the program was still able to extrapolate plenty of positives from their performances.
California took all four races against the No. 7 Huskies on the Montlake Cut, showing off a level of speed Washington knows it needs to match as the season begins to wind down toward the Pac-10 Championships. In the process, the No. 4 Golden Bears retained the Simpson Cup for the eighth year in a row.
"Certainly we're making some progress on the women's side," said women's coach and rowing director Bob Ernst. "You didn't see it in terms of results. I think Cal is a legitimate Top 3 or 4 team in the country. But I do think we're closer (to Cal) than we looked today."
The Golden Bears had the advantage at the start of each race, powering off the line with a high stroke rate to gain an early lead on the 2,000-meter course. This was the plan right off the bat in the women's varsity four, which saw the Golden Bears carve out a three-second victory against the Huskies, 7:15.9 to 7:18.1.
In the novice eight race, the Golden Bears upset a Husky boat that had beaten them earlier in the season at the San Diego Crew Classic. Although the novice Husky boat was able to keep the race within a length, Cal pulled away at the end to deliver the first UW collegiate loss to novice coach Nicole Minett, who had been undefeated in her previous two seasons with the Huskies.
"The level of competition for the Pac-10 in women's rowing is really high," Ernst said. "This thing isn't going to be rebuilt overnight. We're amassing some quality athletes ... and we have a lot more racing to go."
Ernst like the races his varsity and second varsity teams had, but knew it wasn't enough to beat a pair of Cal boats operating at a high level. The 2v8 race was close for much of the race until both teams pulled into the Montlake Cut. There the Golden Bears were able to take a boat length's lead, downing UW 6:27.8 to 6:33.2.
In the race for the Simpson Cup, the Huskies kept the Golden Bears within striking distance until the 1,000-meter mark, when Cal was able to pull away. Like Cal's previous races, the varsity boat rowed with a high stroke rate, making it hard for the Huskies to make up ground in the latter part of the race.
"I thought (Cal) had a really good race plan for us today," Ernst said. "And the fact that they've raced more than us this year showed."
Given where the teams are ranked, Washington and Cal will be placed next to one another at the Pac-10 Championships on May 15, so the dual-style racing should prepare the Huskies well for postseason.
Lineups & Results
Cal - 6:41.5, UW - 6:46.5
Cox - Madeline Johnston, stroke - Madeline Cordner, 7 - Margaret Dobrowolski, 6 - Katie Woodman, 5 - Margaret Misner, 4 - Anna Shortley, 3 - Kelly Nielsen, 2 - Helen Jefferis, bow - Rockie Curdes
Second Varsity 8+
Cal - 6:27.8, UW - 6:33.2
Cox - Kelsey Jackson, stroke - Victoria Nenchev, 7 - Haley Yeager, 6 - Hanne Trafnik, 5 - Marie Strohmayer, 4 - Ruth Whyman, 3 - Camilla Andersen, 2 - Sarah Velling, bow - Monique Moore
Cal - 6:19.5, UW - 6:24.3
Cox - Ariana Tanimoto, stroke - Kirstyn Goodger, 7 - Erin Lauber, 6 - Kerry Simmonds, 5 - Madison Culp, 4 - Leslie White, 3 - Kira O'Sullivan, 2 - Skye Pearman-Gillman, bow - Veronica Tamsitt