Oct. 26, 2012
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. - Rowing director and women's crew head coach Bob Ernst made the long drive down to California on Thursday, transporting the Washington shells that will be used in the Head of the American Regatta on Saturday at Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova, Calif.
The rest of his team met him down there earlier today and were out on the water this afternoon preparing for a race that Ernst considers a top-level challenge.
"This is the best intercollegiate competition that we could find anywhere in the country," said Ernst. "There are women who won Olympic medals that we will be racing tomorrow, and three of the top 10 crews from the NCAAs [Championships] are here. The fact we get to race twice tomorrow is a great opportunity. "
On Wednesday, the women were out on Lake Union before the sun came up competing to earn a chance to row against the talented and experienced individuals and teams this weekend. The long-pair race is a pre-race tradition that Ernst uses to determine who will compete at each upcoming event.
This fall senior Madison Culp and junior Kirstyn Goodger have been dominating these intra-squad races. They have won all five, and will row in the first pair boat for Washington on Saturday. Ernst took the top five pairs, including Culp and Goodger, to compete in two races. All five duos will compete in the pairs race at 10:45 a.m., and the four boats that finish first will join coxswain Maddy Johnston to row in the Women's Eight at 1:45 p.m.
Forecasts call for sunny skies and 80 degrees, so racing conditions should be favorable for the event. His rowers have been working hard this fall, and Ernst is looking forward to seeing how they stand up against tough competition this weekend.
"I'm excited to see how they are going to perform. Stanford, Cal, USC and are here, so it's absolutely as good as you can get."