May 13, 2001
Rancho Cordova, Calif. - The Washington women's varsity eight won its 10th consecutive title and the freshman men's eight snapped a three-year losing streak for the eights when it won at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships on Lake Natoma Saturday afternoon.
The Washington women, who were aiming for a sweep of all four races for the third year in a row, added a gold medal in the junior varsity eight and varsity four, but took second in the novice women's eight. The men's races were highlighted by a gold medal performance from the freshmen, who captured Washington's first Pac-10 championship by an eight-oared crew since 1997, snapping a three-year run in which California swept the varsity, junior varsity and freshman eights.
The Husky men's varsity and junior varsity eights finished second, behind California, in their grand finals. The men's varsity four, which entered the regatta a string of six straight conference crowns, was also second to the Bears in its final.
Conference honors were awarded following the races and highlighting the afternoon was the "Newcomer of the Year" award presented to Husky junior Annabel Ritchie, who rows in the bow seat of Washington's varsity eight. Seniors Rika Geyser, Nicole Borges and Nicole Rogers and junior Anna Mickelson were named to the Pac-10 All-Conference Team while senior captain David Calder, classmate Hans Hurn and junior Matt Deakin earned recognition on the men's all-conference team.
The Washington women's varsity eight avenged its only defeat this season, by Southern California at the San Diego Crew Classic back on April 8, by pulling away in the final 500 meters and posting a commanding three-second victory over the Women of Troy in the conference grand final. The Huskies covered the 2,000-meter Lake Natoma course in a time of 6 minutes, 40.60 seconds, ahead of USC at 6:43.70. It was the 10th straight victory and 21st overall in 24 varsity women's races since 1977.
"We raced really well today," said junior coxswain Mary Whipple, who is from nearby Sacramento and was competing on her home course. "We had a tough race last week, against Romania, and that put us in the perfect mindset for this weekend. USC moved on us in the third 500, but we kept our cool this time and just kept moving. They were charging but we held them off and pulled away."
"The varsity had an outstanding performance," added head women's coach Jan Harville. "They knew USC would be tough. It was a big asset having such a tough race at home last weekend. It was a big, big confidence builder beating the Romanians. These women just keep pushing forward and improving."
The men's varsity eight race saw the Huskies pitted against two-time defending national champion California for the third time this season. The Bears came out on top again, taking an open water lead at the halfway mark and winning their fourth straight Pac-10 title in a time of 5:51.79. The Huskies were second in 6:01.89, ahead of third-place Oregon State at 6:03.00.
"California has a good program and they are a little bit stronger than us right now," said head men's coach Bob Ernst. "Our guys are looking forward to seeing some new faces at the national championships. There are a lot of other teams out there to race. It's going to be a real street fight at nationals. We'll go home and try some different things. We aren't done yet."
The junior varsity races saw the Husky women top cross-state rival Washington State, winning in 7:06.79, while the Cougars were second in 7:10.39. On the men's side, Cal had open water over the last 500 meters, winning in 6:03.10, well ahead of UW at 6:11.39.
The freshman men kept their string alive, winning their third straight match-up with California this season, this time with a mark of 6:02.00 to the Bears' 6:05.20.
"Our guys had a good, controlled race," said freshman coach Fred Honebein. "They didn't let the heat bother them and they just rowed their own race. It was nice to break the streak of Cal dominance in the eights."
The novice women suffered just their second loss of the season, but to the same opponent, Washington State. The Cougars, who beat the Huskies in the annual dual regatta, claimed their first-ever Pac-10 Championships by winning the grand final in a time of 7:06.79, ahead of the Huskies at 7:10.39.
"We are bearing the burden of finishing second," novice coach Eleanor McElvaine said. "We have to remind the rowers that they beat a whole bunch of other teams. I'm proud of the crew. They know that part of the responsibility of rowing at Washington is that we come here to win. They are going to be outstanding contributors to the future of our program."
The women's varsity four opened the afternoon racing with an open water victory in its grand final, claiming a nine-second victory over Northwest neighbor Oregon State, with the Huskies crossing at 7:41.60 and the Beavers at 7:50.50. The men's varsity four had its six-year win streak snapped by a strong California crew that posted a winning time of 6:40.70, to the Huskies' second place mark of 6:53.39.
The Huskies now prepare for their national championships. The women's NCAA field will be announced May 15 for the championships that are May 24-26 on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. The men's Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship regatta is set for May 31-June 2 in Camden, New Jersey.
Pacific-10 Conference Championships
Lake Natoma (2,000-meters), Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Sunny, warm, headwind
Men's Varsity Eight
1, California 5:51.79. 2, Washington 6:01.89. 3, Oregon State 6:03.00. 4, Stanford 6:15.20. 5, UC-Davis 6:16.35. 6, Western Washington 6:31.79.
Women's Varsity Eight
1, Washington 6:40.60. 2, Southern California 6:43.70. 3, California 6:51.00. 4, Stanford 6:58.39. 5, Washington State 7:05.00. 6, Oregon State 7:11.60.
Men's Junior Varsity Eight
1, California 6:03.10. 2, Washington 6:11.39. 3, Oregon State 6:26.00. 4, UC-Davis 6:35.79. 5, Western Washington 6:46.10. 6, Sacramento State 7:15.20. 7, Washington State 7:18.89.
Women's Junior Varsity Eight
1, Washington 7:06.79. 2, Washington State 7:10.39. 3, California 7:11.60. 4, Southern California 7:21.29. 5, Oregon State 7:25.29. 6, Stanford 7:42.20.
Men's Freshman Eight
1, Washington 6:02.00. 2, California 6:05.20. 3, Oregon State 6:18.29. 4, UC-Davis 6:31.10. 5, Stanford 6:31.50. 6, San Diego 6:48.70.
Women's Novice Eight
1, Washington State 6:59.29. 2, Washington 7:06.20. 3, Oregon State 7:17.70. 4, California 7:21.39. 5, Stanford 7:21.70. 6, UC-Davis 7:34.89.
Men's Varsity Four
1, California 6:40.70. 2, Washington 6:53.39. 3, San Diego 6:54.29. 4, Sacramento State 7:00.00. 5, Oregon State 7:13.70. 6, San Diego State 7:17.20.
Women's Varsity Four
1, Washington 7:41.60. 2, Oregon State 7:50.50. 3, Washington State 7:55.60. 4, California 7:59.39. 5, St. Mary's College 8:11.89. 6, San Diego State 8,21.10.