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Quartet of Husky Crews Reach Grand Finals at IRA Regatta
Release: 06/03/2005
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June 3, 2005

CHERRY HILL, N.J. - Washington's entire rowing fleet advanced successfully through semifinals into the grand finals, including the fourth-ranked varsity eight crew that defeated No. 2 California for the first time this season en route to a boat-length victory Friday during the second day of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) men's national championships on the Cooper River.

The Huskies' freshman eight and open four crews also won their respective semifinal races. The defending champion junior varsity eight placed third in its semifinal race, just good enough to earn the final qualifying position for the six-boat grand final.

West Coast powers Washington and California are the only two schools to advance a crew into grand finals for each of the three major eight-oared events: the varsity, junior varsity and freshman races. The Huskies were the last team to "sweep the river" in those events, winning all three races in 1997. That was UW's fifth all-time sweep as the rare feat was also accomplished in 1936, 1937, 1948 and 1950.

Husky crews won national championships last year in the junior varsity eight and varsity four events while the varsity eight collected the silver medal. All four of this year's UW entries are still in championship contention.

The Huskies hope to return a freshman crew to the medal platform for the first time since they won back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002. UW's first-year boat placed fourth in 2003 and 14th last season.

"This is what it's all about. We row to win," exclaimed UW head coach Bob Ernst. "We're happy to be in the final. Anything can happen in the final and it's just going to be full-tilt boogie all the way down."

The varsity eight seeks to win its first national title since 1997. The Huskies have won the headline event 11 times.

UW's semifinal race was a repeat of the Pac-10 championships with four western schools competing. The other semifinal was entirely comprised of crews from the East.

"It was kind of sad how the whole thing shook out with the West Coast racing each other and the East Coast racing each other," said Ernst. "But, the bottom line is you've got to get in the top three to go to the big race tomorrow. Everybody pretty much chased that."

The Huskies overcame an early Cal advantage, surging into the lead over the final quarter of the 2,000-meter course. The Golden Bears had an oar catch soon after UW passed them, enabling Boston University to edge into second place. The Huskies finished one boat-length ahead of the field with a time of 6-minutes, 0.26-seconds. Boston University was second in 6:03.65 followed by Cal (6:03.99), Stanford (6:07.59), Yale (6:15.91) and Oregon State (6:16.81).

"We did what we've been trying to do for a while. That was the race that we wanted to race at Pac-10s, now we've actually rowed it. It feels good," remarked senior coxswain Stephen Hertzfeld (Bethesda, Md.). "We were moving through Cal pretty well and took a seat or two lead with about 400 meters to go. Then they caught a crab and then the race was over after that and we didn't have to do a full-out sprint."

The Bears won both previous meetings with UW, by one boat length each time.

"We've been waiting to row like that all year," said senior Brett Newlin who rows in the No. 4 seat for the Husky varsity. He is one of just two returning rowers from last season's silver-medal crew, joining Giuseppe Lanzone.

"Cal was the one with something to lose today so it was good to put it to them. It's a huge confidence-booster to beat Cal. We know we've had the speed all year to do it. Today we showed a little bit of it and hopefully we can show even more tomorrow."

Top-ranked Harvard won the other varsity semifinal with a time of 5:51.77. The two-time defending champion Crimson are undefeated this season. Finishing in second and third places were grand final-bound Princeton (5:51.96) and Northeastern (6:06.29).

Coach Ernst didn't want to savor the semifinal win over California. He had his sights set on dethroning Harvard.

"They're just really good and they are really fast. We've been preparing for them since last September because Harvard beat us here last year. We'd like to put one on them. But, we've got to row our very best tomorrow. Hopefully everybody will row their very best tomorrow and if we get there first, then it's a real privilege to win."

UW's top-seeded junior varsity eight had its 18-race unbeaten streak stopped Thursday with a second-place heat finish. They were defeated again Friday, this time by two other crews.

Cornell won the semifinal in 6:06.87 followed by Yale in 6:09.25 and UW in 6:10.37. Those three crews will compete in the grand final alongside California, Wisconsin and Northeastern.

The Huskies opened an early lead, but were overtaken by Cornell before the midway mark and then by Yale with 500 meters to go.

"We got out quick ahead of the field and we settled. Cornell made a big push at the second 500 and they got out and stayed out," senior coxswain Greg King (Manassas, Va.) described. "Just like yesterday, we did what we needed to do and qualified for the final. We're confident in our speed and we're going to go out and see what we can do tomorrow."

Washington burst out to an early lead in the freshman eights semifinal, going wire-to-wire for a four-seat win over runner-up Harvard. The Huskies clocked a time of 6:14.96, Harvard finished in 6:16.35 and Boston U. in 6:24.61.

California had a winning time of 6:14.05 in the other freshman semifinal that also sent Penn and Princeton to the grand final.

The Huskies' entry in the open fours competition had a shaky start in Thursday's heat and finished a distant second to Northeastern. They corrected the problem Friday, controlling the repechage race and prevailing by open water.

UW's winning time of 7:00.65 was nearly seven seconds superior to the 7:07.59 turned in by runner-up Princeton. The Huskies needed to win the repechage as only the first-place finisher received a grand final berth.

"The game plan was to get out early and hold our lead. We look forward to getting even faster in the final," said junior Adam Van Winkle (Mukilteo, Wash./Kamiak HS). "I feel like we're in contention to win and we're looking forward to proving ourselves."

Colin Sykes, who coaches the Huskies' four, agreed with Van Winkle.

"We're getting better as we go. I certainly think that they are capable of winning, but they're going to have to have their fastest race of the year in order to do that. This is a national championship and that's usually what happens."

The current crew is seeking to continue a legacy of success that has seen the Huskies win four consecutive national championships in four-oared events. Washington won the varsity four title at the 2003 and 2004 IRA regattas and the open four in 2002. This year's UW four is entered in the open race in which guidelines stipulate that each crew must contain at least one freshman rower.

Harvard and California were the other open four repechage winners who will row in the grand final. They join Northeastern, Cornell and Georgetown who received automatic berths via their heat wins.

IRA MEN'S ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Friday, June 3, 2005
Cooper River; Cherry Hill, N.J.
All races were 2,000 meters

Varsity Eights
(top three in each semifinal to grand final, rest to petite final)

Semifinal I
1. Washington 6:00.26
2. Boston University 6:03.65
3. California 6:03.99
4. Stanford 6:07.59
5. Yale 6:15.91
6. Oregon State 6:16.81

Semifinal II
1. Harvard 5:51.77
2. Princeton 5:51.96
3. Northeastern 6:06.29
4. Navy 6:11.19
5. Brown 6:15.67
6. Michigan 6:22.85

UW lineup: cox-Stephen Hertzfeld, stroke-Kiel Petersen, 7-Dusan Nikolic, 6-Aljosa Corovic, 5-Colin Phillips, 4-Brett Newlin, 3-Giuseppe Lanzone, 2-Kyle Larson, bow-Ante Kusurin.


Junior Varsity Eights
(top three in each semifinal to grand final, rest to petite final)

Semifinal I
1. California 6:02.27
2. Wisconsin 6:03.57
3. Northeastern 6:12.17
4. Princeton 6:16.3
5. Penn 6:29.98
6. Syracuse 6:34.49

Semifinal II
1. Cornell 6:06.87
2. Yale 6:09.25
3. Washington 6:10.37
4. Boston University 6:15.15
5. Harvard 6:16.19
6. Navy 6:20.79

UW lineup: cox-Greg King, stroke-Scott Gault, 7-Scott Schmidt, 6-Cooper Lange, 5-Martin Rogulja, 4-Jacob Pettit, 3-Matt Kopicky, 2-Tyler Smith, bow-Evan Galloway.


Freshman Eights
(top three in each semifinal to grand final, rest to petite final)

Semifinal I
1. California 6:14.05
2. Penn 6:23.19
3. Princeton 6:23.54
4. Brown 6:25.25
5. Northeastern 6:33.33
6. Yale 6:42.21

Semifinal II v1. Washington 6:14.96
2. Harvard 6:16.35
3. Boston University 6:24.61 v4. Navy 6:28.93
5. Cornell 6:35.49
6. Virginia 6:50.42

UW lineup: cox-Dean Pearson, stroke-Rob Gibson, 7-Andrew Beaton, 6-Steve Full, 5-Christopher Aylard, 4-Thomas McCrea, 3-Drew Fowler, 2-Derek DeVries, bow-Toby Dankbaar.


Open Fours
(winners to grand final, rest to petite & third finals)

Repechage I
1. California 6:57.42
2. Dartmouth 7:04.24 v3. Michigan 7:31.76
4. MIT 7:54.03

Repechage II
1. Washington 7:00.65
2. Princeton 7:07.59
3. Wisconsin "B" 7:11.99
4. Cornell 7:33.81

Repechage III
1. Harvard 7:05.69
2. Wisconsin 7:17.15
3. Penn 7:20.32
4. Navy 7:41.21

UW lineup: cox-Mary Katherine Langlais, stroke-Craig Tyler, 3-Adam Van Winkle, 2-Luke Carney, bow-Dustin Kraus.

Washington Crew
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