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UW's Five-Boat Fleet Rows into IRA Semifinals
Release: 06/05/2008
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June 5, 2008

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    CHERRY HILL, N.J. - The top-ranked men's varsity eight crew headlined the fleet of five Washington boats that qualified for the national semifinals by winning races Thursday during the first day of the men's Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships on the Cooper River.

    "So far, so good," stated first-year Husky head coach Michael Callahan. "What we wanted to do is get out in the lead of the heats and try to control it from there. We seemed to have been able to execute that. Now it's on to the next step. The semis are always really tough, so we have to go to the next level tomorrow."

    All five Husky crews will compete Friday morning in semifinal races that determine the six-boat fields for Saturday's grand finals. UW's varsity and second varsity eights are defending national championships in their respective events. The Huskies' freshman eight placed third last year.


    Live race results are available at

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    None of the Huskies' trio of eight-oared boats were seriously challenged Thursday. The undefeated varsity eight rowed with No. 8 Stanford on its sixth seat for most of the 2,000-meter course before crossing the finish line nearly two seconds ahead. UW's time was 5-minutes, 53.29-seconds and Stanford finished in 5:55.18.

    UW's top crew extended its winning streak to 17 races. Their last loss came in the grand final of the 2006 IRA Championships at the same Cooper River venue.

    Junior coxswain Katelin Snyder is a veteran of two previous IRA Regattas. She came home with a gold medal in 2006 with the freshman eight and directed the varsity eight to the 2007 national title. Snyder wasn't entirely pleased with this crew's opening race.

    "We had a plan to execute a really blazing fast first 1,000 and we didn't really do that to the extent that we wanted to. So that made the rest of the race more difficult," she explained. "Our goal is to improve over the entire regatta and this is just stage one. We have two more races to go. We have a good base of rowing and somewhere to work from."

    The winners in the other three varsity eight heats were, third-ranked Brown (5:51.29), No. 5 California (5:49.22) and No. 2 Wisconsin (5:51.06).

    The Huskies' second varsity cruised to a heat win, leading wire-to-wire. They opened an early margin before Northeastern drew within two seats near the midway mark. UW responded with a surge that stretched its advantage en route to an open-water victory.

    Junior Trevor Mollenkopf, who pulls the No. 6 oar in UW's second varsity boat, said the crew enjoyed the respite from difficult practices. They were anxious to race for real.

    "It felt so good. We've just been working so hard in practice, and it's so nice to have it finally actually be against some legitimate competition and not like another of our boats and not us and not the clock."

    UW's heat-winning time was 5:59.40 and Northeastern placed second in 6:03.66.

    Winners of the other three heats included, California (5:56.77), Cornell (5:59.61) and Wisconsin (5:57.55).

    By definition, the freshman crew contains only first-year team members. So this year's squad is entirely new, with last year's bronze medalists now occupying seats in the varsity and second-varsity boats.

    This year's undefeated freshmen eight got off to a stellar start in their maiden voyage at the IRA regatta. They clocked a time of 5:56.16 that was over two seconds superior to the other first-year boats. The Huskies started fast and steadily widened their lead over Stanford, which had a second-place time of 6:01.51. The rest of the field was more than six seconds behind the Cardinal.

    "I thought they rowed well. It was a little difficult yesterday, with the storm watch, they couldn't row on the course. I was a little worried that they hadn't ever been on the course until their first race," said first-year UW freshman coach Lucas McGee. "It's kind of nice to get the first one over. If there is going to be a rusty one, it's going to be the first one. You get that one out of the way and then hopefully we have a good one in the semis."

    Finishing first in the other freshman eight heats were California (5:58.34), Harvard (5:59.93) and Yale (6:02.20).

    UW's two four-oared crews competed in time trials to determine the 12 semifinalists. Despite the unique format and shortened 1,500-meter distance, both Husky boats performed well and posted the fastest times in their events.

    The Huskies out-rowed 23 other crews in the varsity four time trial, crossing the finish line in 5:37.90. The next best time of 5:39.40 was turned in by Marist College. Cornell was third (5:40.20) and UCLA fourth (5:41.00).

    The varsity four won the Pac-10 championship. The Huskies last entered an IRA varsity four in 2004 and the crew won the second of two straight national titles.

    Washington has won a national championship in a four-oared boat in each of the last six IRA Regattas, the last three by an open four crew.

    The UW freshman four raced together as a unit for the first time in Thursday's time trial. It obviously didn't take the Huskies long to get acquainted as they were five-seconds better than the other 20 competitors. UW covered the 1,500 meters in 5:43.13 and rival California had the next best time of 5:48.50. Wisconsin had the third-best time (5:56.80) and Oregon State was fourth (5:58.04).

    The time trial format was necessary to ensure that the best crews remained in championship contention. Because the fours don't race as often as eights, the IRA committee was unable to gauge their comparative speed and couldn't adequately seed the crews into heats. Rather than risk putting too many of the best crews in the same heat and having some of them eliminated from championship contention, the time trial served as a seeding race for the semifinals.

    In the time trials crews rowed down the course individually, with approximately 30-second intervals between starts.

    Coach Callahan stressed the benefit of his crews getting one race under their belts at the championship regatta.

    "It just gets out all of those little pieces of anxiety that you have and you kind of settle down into the race routine now. You talk about it all year and now you're in it, so now you can relax and just start executing. That's what we're focused on right now."

    The IRA is the oldest collegiate crew championship in the country, dating back to 1895. It remains the premier event for national rowing honors for college men. This year's regatta features 1,312 athletes in 184 crews, representing 51 colleges.

    2008 Men's Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships
    Thursday, June 5, 2008
    Cooper River; Cherry Hill, N.J.
    (all heat races were 2,000 meters, time trials were 1,500 meters)


    Varsity Eight
    (top-two finishers in each heat to Friday semifinals, rest to repechage)

    Heat I -- Washington, 5:53.29. 2, Stanford, 5:55.18. 3, Columbia, 5:58.42. 4, Georgetown, 6:01.60. 5, Syracuse, 6:03.92. 6, Dartmouth, 6:16.03.

    Heat II -- 1, Brown, 5:51.29. 2, Harvard, 5:52.93. 3, Yale, 5:57.97. 4, Oregon State, 6:04.90. 5, Purdue, 6:09.40. 6, Colgate, 6:20.42.

    Heat III -- 1, California, 5:49.22. 2, Cornell, 5:52.19. 3, Princeton, 5:54.86. 4, Pennsylvania, 6:05.35. 5, Holy Cross, 6:07.48. 6, Gonzaga, 6:13.04.

    Heat IV -- 1, Wisconsin, 5:51.06. 2, Northeastern, 5:51.99. 3, Navy, 5:53.30. 4, Michigan, 5:55.34. 5, Boston University, 6:03.56. 6, George Washington, 6:16.45.

          UW lineup: cox-Katelin Snyder, stroke-Will Crothers, 7-Heath Allen, 6-Jessiah Johnson, 5-Simon Taylor, 4-Blaise Didier, 3-Roko Svast, 2-Toby Dankbaar, bow-Lowell Neal.

    Second Varsity Eight
    (top-two finishers in each heat to Friday semifinals, rest to repechage)

    Heat I -- 1, California, 5:56.77. 2, Brown, 6:00.68. 3, Harvard "B", 6:04.37. 4, George Washington, 6:19.38. 5, Navy, 6:23.75.

    Heat II -- 1, Cornell, 5:59.61. 2, Harvard "A", 6:03.46. 3, Columbia, 6:10.47. 4, Yale, 6:12.18. 5, Dartmouth, 6:27.68.

    Heat III -- 1, Wisconsin, 5:57.55. 2, Orange Coast, 5:59.28. 3, Princeton, 6:07.90. 4, Oregon State, 6:08.90. 5, Michigan, 6:17.88. 6, Colgate, 6:26.87.

    Heat IV -- 1, Washington, 5:59.40. 2, Northeastern, 6:03.66. 3, Georgetown, 6:07.82. 4, Syracuse, 6:11.91. 5, Boston University, 6:14.30. 6, Holy Cross, 6:21.55.

          UW lineup: cox-Micah Perrin, stroke-Graham Oglend, 7-Asa Bergdahl, 6-Trevor Mollenkopf, 5- Drew Fowler, 4-Tad McCrea, 3-Andrew Beaton, 2-Steve Full, bow-Bart-Jan Caron.

    Freshman Eight
    (top-two finishers in each heat to Friday semifinals, rest to repechage)

    Heat I -- 1, California, 5:58.34. 2, Brown, 6:03.94. 3, Gonzaga, 6:12.09. 4, Columbia, 6:17.03. 5, Delaware, 6:17.09. 6, MIT, 6:31.08.

    Heat II -- 1, Harvard, 5:59.93. 2, Wisconsin, 6:03.06. 3, Northeastern, 6:03.27. 4, Yale "B", 6:13.97. 5, Navy, 6:15.75. 6, George Washington, 6:29.96.

    Heat III -- 1, Washington, 5:56.16. 2, Stanford, 6:01.51. 3, Syracuse, 6:08.03. 4, Georgetown, 6:18.98. 5, Pennsylvania, 6:19.89. 6, Michigan, 6:27.37.

    Heat IV -- 1, Yale "A", 6:02.20. 2, Princeton, 6:07.50. 3, Cornell, 6:10.74. 4, Hobart, 6:11.71. 5, Boston University, 6:19.94. 6, Dartmouth, 6:20.45.

          UW lineup: cox-Alex Chalk, stroke-Hans Struzyna, 7-Noah O'Connell, 6-Nenad Bulicic, 5-Anthony Jacob, 4-Matt Zapel, 3- Ty Otto, 2-Bede Clarke, bow-Trevor Walchenbach.

    Varsity Four
    (top-12 fastest times to semifinals, rest of consolation semifinals)

    Time Trial -- 1, Washington, 5:37.90. 2, Marist, 5:39.40. 3, Cornell, 5:40.20. 4, UCLA, 5:41.00. 5(tie), Temple and MIT, 5:41.70. 7, California, 5:42.10. 8, Rutgers, 5:43.80. 9, Brown, 5:46.60. 10(tie), Yale and Lehigh, 5:48.30. 12, Wisconsin, 5:49.60. 13, St. Thomas, 5:50.80. 14, Navy, 5:51.00. 15, Minnesota, 5:51.20. 16, Rochester, 5:52.10. 17, Delaware, 5:52.70. 18, Loyola College and Washington State, 5:53.50. 20, Drexel, 5:56.10. 21, Dartmouth, 5:58.00. 22, Michigan, 6:01.00. 23, Boston University, 6:06.60. 24, Wichita State, 6:11.60.

          UW lineup: cox-Leah Downey, stroke-Stephen Connolly, 3-Dane Robins, 2-Kit Culbert, bow-David VanBolt.

    Freshman Four
    (top-12 fastest times to semifinals, rest of consolation semifinals)

    Time Trial -- 1, Washington, 5:43.13. 2, California, 5:48.50. 3, Wisconsin, 5:56.80. 4, Oregon State, 5:58.04. 5, Drexel, 5:59.08. 6, Rutgers, 6:00.15. 7, Yale, 6:00.77. 8, Harvard, 6:01.29. 9, Princeton, 6:01.93. 10, Temple, 6:02.06. 11, Cornell, 6:02.98. 12, Colgate, 6:03.59. 13, Marietta College, 6:06.09. 14, Delaware, 6:07.02. 15, Syracuse, 6:09.01. 16, Navy, 6:09.33. 17, Brown, 6:13.17. 18, Minnesota, 6:17.35. 19, Holy Cross, 6:20.87. 20, Dartmouth, 6:21.90. 21, Michigan, 6:30.76.

          UW lineup: cox-Michelle Darby, stroke-Niles Garratt, 3-Bjoern Sbierski, 2-Tyler Emsky, bow-Chris Rinker.

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