April 20, 2007
By Risa Pavia
Coming off strong showings in last weekend's Windermere Rowing Classic in Redwood Shores, Calif., the Washington men's and women's crews are back in Seattle in the familiar waters of the Montlake Cut. Both the men and the women are riding high expectations into this weekend's race against Oregon State.
The women are tied with Tennessee for No. 10 in the Collegiate Coaches' Rowing poll, having defeated Central Florida and Louisville last weekend. A win against Oregon State is vital for the Huskies, as they must establish themselves in the Pac-10 conference in order to secure a place in the national championships, in which only the top 12 teams in the country are invited to participate.
"I'm feeling better after last weekend's races," women's coach Eleanor McElvaine said. "There was some good improvement. We have momentum going now, and it's important to keep that momentum in the next few weeks. We need to perform really well. This race will be a good test for us to establish ourselves as a leader in the Pac-10."
The men are on top of the national rankings for the fourth week in a row after wins over three worthy opponents at the Windermere Classic, including Pac-10 rival Stanford.
"Stanford had beaten Cal the weekend before last, so I knew they were a really good team," the UW men's coach Bob Ernst said. "We raced against three great teams last weekend, and I knew those would be developmentally challenging. We have young guys this year, with only two seniors, and last weekend was a big high."
Now that their season is in full swing, the rowers are working harder than ever in order to keep getting the kinds of results that have come to be expected of Husky crews.
"We are lucky to have a lot of high performance athletes," Ernst said. "But we are doing a lot of racing this time of the year, and it takes a lot out of the guys. There's not much of a break, but that's where we are."