Feb. 16, 2012
SEATTLE - Two of rowing's most historic programs will meet this spring in the Pacific Northwest when Brown University travels west to take on Washington.
The rare intersectional matchup will take place on March 31 on the Montlake Cut at 8 a.m. Brown is one of the top teams in the tradition-rich Ivy League Conference, and is a regular fixture at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championship Regatta in June.
What makes the dual race intriguing is how rare it is to see one of the East Coast powerhouses travel to Seattle. But that was the challenge men's crew coach Michael Callahan sought to overcome when he invited the Bears.
The contract with Brown calls for the Huskies to return the trip next season to the East Coast.
"This is a great opportunity for our student-athletes," Callahan said. "We're always looking to enhance their experience and having them race against one of the top rowing programs in the nation fulfills that goal."
Brown will send five boats from Providence to Seattle: a varsity eight, second varsity eight, third varsity eight, fourth varsity eight and its top freshmen eight. There are plenty of ties between the two programs as well. Freshmen coach Luke McGee is an alumnus of Brown (Class of 2001) and later coached the Bears freshmen until 2007 when he made the move out west.
"It is going to be exciting to see my alma mater, and the program that gave me my start in coaching, racing on the Montlake Cut," McGee said. "I know the Brown program well and I am sure that all of their boats will be well trained and will race with a lot of intensity."
Conversely, Brown coach Paul Cooke started his career in the Emerald City with Green Lake Crew, which is a city-wide rowing program for high school students.
Brown won Ivy League championships in 2008 and 2009, and has reached the Grand Final in the varsity eight at IRAs in each of the past three seasons.
The two programs have been a part of some memorable races against one another. McGee's final race at Brown - the freshmen 8 Grand Final at IRAs in 2007 - was highlighted by a come-from-behind win over Washington, which at the time were coached by Callahan. In 2010, the Huskies 2V8+ won gold at IRAs with a furious sprint in the final 200 meters to overtake the Bears.
The dual against Brown will be held in conjunction with the Husky Open, which features several UW boats competing against one another on the Montlake Cut.