May 12, 2010
Setting the Scene: Pac-10 Championships
The regular season is over for the Huskies. This weekend, Pac-10 supremacy is on the line as the University of Washington crew program heads once again to California to face the other elite crews of the conference on May 16 under a new format - a one-day flight down the 2,000 meter course on Lake Natoma, located just outside of Sacramento. Last year, the Huskies battled 105-degree temperatures in Rancho Cordova. This weekend, the conditions are expected to be pleasantly mild, hovering in the mid-70s. The Pac-10 Championships also underwent some changes this year, with the racing restricted to just Pac-10 schools, which helped the conference pare the event down to one flight down the course on Sunday morning.
Race updates are available in real time with the official Washington rowing Twitter feed, which is available at www.twitter.com/UWHuskyCrew. Official results and a race recap will also be available on GoHuskies.com following the dual. Fans may also watch a live stream of the Pac-10 championships on the conference's main page: www.pac-10.org.
In Search of Hardware
The No. 1 UW men's varsity eight has won the Pac-10 Championship 32 times, including twice in the last three years. The women's crew is in search of their first title since 2002, but the Huskies have always been a dangerous player in the conference championship with 22 varsity eight wins in their history, which dates back to 1975.
Huskies Coaching Staff
Now in his third year as coach of the men's program, Michael Callahan is coming off one of the most successful seasons the program has seen in its storied history. In 2009, Washington swept all three races at the IRA Regatta (and thereby earning the Ten Eyck Trophy), becoming the first team to accomplish the feat since the Huskies also did so in 1997. Prior to taking over the men's coaching position, Callahan served for three seasons as the Huskies freshmen coach. A 1996 graduate of the University of Washington, Callahan has also been an active member on the international level, where he's competed and coached. Luke McGee handles the coaching duties for the freshmen, who are coming off a historic undefeated season in 2009.
The women's team is coached by the legendary Bob Ernst, who made the switch after a 20-year stint coaching the men's program. Ernst is no stranger to women's rowing, having shepherded the program to six National Championships from 1981-87. Ernst also has significant Olympics and International experience and has been involved with some facet of the UW program since 1974. In 1984, he coached the Gold Medal winning eight in the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Nicole Minett manages all coaching duties for the novice women.
Each year after the Class Day Regatta, the Huskies select two captains to lead their program into the brunt of the spring season. This year, Ty Otto and Adrienne Martelli will represent their boats and sport the star on Washington's traditional white oars.
Last Time Out
The Windermere Cup brought a pair of marquee opponents to Seattle, and the UW responded to the challenge with two of their best efforts of the season. The men's crew swept the Erickson and Windermere Cup races, defeating both Oxford and Syracuse by open water. The women's crews were just as successful, sweeping both flagship events to capture the program's fourth consecutive Windermere Cup title.
About The Huskies
The men's crew program at Washington continues to define its excellence each time on the race course. The Huskies are undefeated this spring, having swept each of their races by open water. Prior to the Windermere Cup, Washington headed to Redwood Shores and took all four races from archrival Cal. Weeks prior, on the same course, the Huskies also swept Stanford. The success is not just limited to the varsity eight, as both the second varsity and the freshmen crews are also undefeated. For the women's crew, Bob Ernst feels his group is peaking at the right time, particularly with the varsity eight. There was potential shown in a three-second defeat to Cal at Redwood Shores, a race where the Huskies were able to fight back against the No. 1 crew in the country. The women's novice eight remains undefeated and while the second varsity has lost just one race this spring. Each crew had a successful fall campaign, evidenced by a strong showing at the Head of the Charles in Boston, where both teams finished as the second best collegiate eight in their respective categories.
About The Course
Lake Natoma is a 2,000-meter course and the home venue of the Pac-10 Championship. Situated 15 miles northeast of Sacramento, Calif., Lake Natoma was created by Nimbus Dam across American River and is a regulating reservoir for releases from Folsom Lake. In the varsity races, the men's crew will be seeded in Lane 1, while the women are staked in Lane 6. Lake Natoma is widely considered one of the best venues in the United States for intercollegiate rowing.
Scouting the Men's Field
The Pac-10 is typically loaded on both sides of the bracket and this year is no exception as three of the Huskies opponents are ranked in the Top 20. The UW men's crew is ranked No. 1 in the nation according to the USRowing Collegiate Poll, but Cal is nipping at their heels in the second slot. Stanford is ranked No. 13 while Oregon State is ranked 18.
Scouting the Women's Field
The Pac-10 is loaded on the women's side, with a total of six crews ranked in the CRCA/USRowing Top-20 poll, including four in the Top-10. Cal is the No. 1 team in the nation, although the Huskies were neck-and-neck with the Golden Bears during their dual meet in April at Redwood Shores. Cal unseated Stanford from the top spot earlier this year, as the Cardinal was the nation's top team when the Huskies faced them on April 3 in California. Rounding out the field is No. 8 USC, No. 11 Washington State and No. 12 UCLA.
2009 Pac-10 Championship
Both crews came away with solid finishes at the 2009 edition of the Pac-10 Championships, which were held under scorching 100-degree-plus temperatures on Lake Natoma. Despite the conditions, the men's and women's crews came away with second and third place finishes respectively, positioning themselves for berths at the IRAs and NCAA Championships. The women's novice eight came away from Sacramento with a win, as did the second varsity men, along with the freshmen eight and varsity four. Cal is the defending champions on both the men's and women's side. The men's crew supplanted a third-place effort in the varsity eight race with wins in the second varsity, freshmen eight and the varsity four.
Men's Frosh/Novice Eight: 9:30 a.m. Women's Novice Eight: 9:50 a.m. Men's Varsity Four: 10:10 a.m. Women's Varsity Four: 10:30 a.m. Men's Second Varsity Eight: 10:50 a.m. Women's Second Varsity Eight: 11:10 a.m. Men's Varsity Eight: 11:30 a.m. Women's Varsity Eight: 11:50 a.m.
In March, four Husky women were invited to the U23 National Team camp. Senior Jennifer Park, junior Kerry Simmonds and sophomore Ariana Tanimoto were all tapped to attend the camp, which will be held in San Diego and Princeton, N.J., this summer. Senior Adrienne Martelli was selected to join the elite camp. The rowers are competing for spots in the women's 8+ and 4x boats that will race at the FISA U23 World Championships in Belarus on June 22-25.
Next Time Out
The National Championships are on the line for both crews, although the racing will take place in different venues. The women will remain on the West Coast and return to Lake Natoma for the NCAA Championships, while the men's crew is headed east for the IRAs on the Cooper River in New Jersey. The NCAAs take place starting on May 28 while the IRAs begin on June 3.