May 24, 2003
THURSDAY-SATURDAY, MAY 29-31 --
at Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships
Cooper Lake / Camden, N.J.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 30-JUNE 1 --
at NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
Eagle Creek / Indianapolis, Ind.
It's championship week for the Washington rowers as four men's crews and three women's crews head to their respective national championship regattas. The Pac-10 champion Husky men are vying for their first varsity eight national title since 1997. The UW women won the last two varsity eight crowns and are seeking their first team title since 2001.
Men -- IRA Championships
The Huskies make their annual journey to Camden, N.J. for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) championships, May 29-31 on the Cooper River. The Huskies have entries in the varsity eight, second varsity eight, freshman eight and varsity four. The freshman eight won the 2002 IRA championship. California won the last four varsity eight titles and lost only two races in the last five seasons, both of them to Washington. The Huskies defeated Cal May 18 to win the 2003 Pac-10 title and also beat the Bears in a dual race last season in Belmont, Calif. The Huskies won their last men's varsity eight IRA title in 1997, the same season they captured their last Pac-10 crown. Other contenders for this year's national title are top-ranked Harvard and No. 3 Wisconsin.
The Washington IRA Entries
> Men's Varsity Eight -- Ranked No. 2. Pac-10 Champion seeks to halt Cal's run of four titles. UW placed third in 2002 and last won the varsity eight crown in 1997.
> Men's Second Varsity Eight -- Placed among top-three each of the last four years, including third in 2002. The Huskies last won the second varsity eight crown in 1997.
> Men's Freshman Eight -- Won the last two IRA championships, in 2001 and 2002.
> Men's Varsity Four -- Huskies won gold in the open four at the 2002 IRAs. Current quartet placed second at the Pac-10 Championships on May 18.
Women-- NCAA Championships
Washington competes at Eagle Creek in Indianapolis, Ind. in the seventh-annual NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, May 30-June 1. The No. 3 Huskies were top ranked for most of the season before losing to current No. 1 Stanford at the Pac-10 Championships. Harvard is ranked second and Princeton is No. 4.
The Women's Field
Each of the 12 schools vying for the team championship is required to enter crews in three events; the varsity eight, junior varsity eight and varsity four competitions. In addition, four schools received at-large berths to enter boats in the varsity eight race. The field includes 11 of the same competitors from last season. The only new team for 2003 is Washington State, giving the Pac-10 its largest representation ever. Four Pac-10 schools (UW, California, Stanford, WSU) will send teams to the championships and a fifth, USC, received one of four at-large varsity eight entries. The NCAA team champion is determined by combining the results from the three events.
The Washington NCAA Entries
> Women's Varsity Eight-- Ranked No. 3. Pac-10 runner-up. Going for unprecedented third consecutive NCAA title. Won back-to-back titles in 2001-02 and 1997-98.
> Women's Second Varsity Eight -- Pac-10 runner-up. Won UW's first NCAA second varsity eight championship last year after placing second in 2000 and 2001.
> Women's Varsity Four -- Pac-10 runner-up. Had a disappointing 10th-place finish last year after winning the previous three NCAA championships (1999, 2000, 2001).
The University of Washington is celebrating its centennial anniversary this season, honoring 100 years of Husky Crew. On June 3, 1903 Washington hosted California in the school's inaugural intercollegiate race. UW defeated Cal by three boat lengths in a four-oared event over a 1.5-mile Lake Washington course. In the ensuing 100 years, the Husky men's and women's rowing teams have produced 70 national championship boats, three women's NCAA team titles. 28 Olympic medalists, 52 Olympians and 26 National Rowing Foundation Hall of Fame inductees. A Washington eight represented the United States at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and came home with the gold medal.
Three members of the Washington women's varsity eight crew are bidding for an unprecedented feat by a Husky rower. Seniors Lauren Estevenin, Adrienne Hunter and Carrie Stasiak are seeking to become the first four-time national champions in Husky history. They will vie for their fourth gold medals at the 2003 NCAA Championships, May 30-June 1 at Eagle Creek in Indianapolis, Ind. All three rowed in the 2000 NCAA champion varsity four crew as freshman and the 2001 varsity eight winner as sophomores. Last year's varsity eight championship put them in the group of only 10 rowers who have competed in three championship boats. One of those three-time gold medalists is current UW novice coach Eleanor McElvaine who coached the trio during their freshman year. Two other seniors in the current varsity eight crew were members of the Huskies' championship varsity four in 2000. Heidi Hurn and coxswain Anne Hessburg competed alongside Estevenin, Hunter and Stasiak as freshmen, but were not in the varsity boat as sophomores.
The Washington men's roster includes a pair of individuals from Cincinnati, Ohio's St. Xavier High School. Juniors Andy Derrick and Chris O'Brien are on different crews this season for the first time ever. They had participated in the same boat for the last seven years. Derrick is the varsity eight's bow seat. O'Brien is the coxswain on UW's junior varsity eight crew. The varsity eight is coxed by senior Ryan Marks whose departure will enable O'Brien to join UW's top boat and be reunited with Derrick.
On the Road Again
It's difficult to imagine a head coach leaving his team one week before the national championships, but that's exactly what Washington men's crew coach Bob Ernst does every year. Ernst departed Monday morning (May 19) to transport the Huskies' racing shells to the championship venues. He is driving in a truck with a trailer that contains three women's boats that were scheduled to be dropped off in Oxford, Ohio on Thursday. One day later, the itinerary has the trailer dropping the four men's boats in Princeton, N.J. Accompanying Ernst on the more than 2,800-mile drive are women's novice coach Eleanor McElvaine and men's varsity intern Colin Sykes. The men's crew re-joins Ernst at Princeton, Saturday (May 24) for three days of training before traveling to the competition venue in Camden, N.J. The UW women will spend four days in Oxford before re-locating to Indianapolis on Wednesday. Women's Coach Jan Harville and her husband Dan will drive the trailer back to Seattle. Last year the women's varsity eight boat was damaged en route to the Midwest. Pocock Racing Shells rushed a new boat to Indianapolis in time for the NCAA regatta and the Huskies used it to win the varsity eight title.
* The Huskies won multiple national titles during both of the last two NCAA women's championships. They won the varsity eight and second varsity eight titles in 2002 and the varsity eight and varsity four events in 2001.
* The Washington women won at least one event championship at every national championship regatta since the NCAA began sponsoring women's rowing in 1997.
* The Washington men won multiple event titles at each of the last two IRA Championships. Husky crews won the freshman eight and open four titles in 2002 and in 2001 they claimed the freshman eight and pair events.
* The last time the Husky men won the IRA varsity eight championship was 1997 which was also the last year they won the Pac-10 championship before this season. UW won the Pac-10 title this year, upsetting five-time conference champion California.
Quoting the Coaches
Washington men's coach Bob Ernst
"It's nice to win (the Pac-10 championship). It's a young bunch of guys and they've been making good progress all season long. We have wonderful athletes right now and they are really, really young. There is only one senior rowing in the varsity boat. Now is the fun part. The IRA is going to be the best field that's ever been there in my career. I'm just glad that we're going there as a contender."
Washington women's coach Jan Harville
"I think it's pretty darn wide open. There are a lot of strong crews and probably any one of them can win it. We certainly like to think that we're one of them. The sense that I get from the varsity eight crew is that they are disappointed about losing at Pac-10s, but they are starting to already use it as motivation."
The Men's Trophies
The first varsity eight competes for the Varsity Challenge Cup, the silver cup first presented in 1898. Washington has won the Cup 11 times, dating back to 1923, and most recently in 1997. The second varsity (junior varsity) competes for the Kennedy Challenge Cup, originally presented in 1899. The Huskies have won the cup 10 times, most recently in 1997. The freshman men race for the Steward's Cup, begun in 1900. Washington enters as defending national champions in the event, after claiming the title last season. Washington also captured the cup in 1997, completing a sweep of the three premier eights race that season. The 2001 victory was the 11th Steward Cup title for UW while the 1997 win was the first for UW in that race since 1969. Prior to the sweep in 1997, Washington last swept all three races in 1950.
Last Year's IRA Championships Recap
Washington's freshman eight-oared crew completed its second consecutive undefeated season when it successfully defended its title in the Stewards Cup at the100th IRA National Championships, June 1 on the Cooper River. Washington's varsity four also captured a gold medal while the varsity eight and junior varsity eight each earned bronze medals on the final day of the 2002 season. Washington was the only school among the top contenders to earn medals in all four races it entered. The Huskies' freshman crew also ends the year as the only undefeated heavyweight eight in the country, among varsity, junior varsity and freshman crews. California's top-ranked varsity eight extended its reign as national champions, capturing the Varsity Challenge Cup, the premier race of the regatta, for the fourth consecutive year. Eastern Sprints champion Wisconsin earned the silver medal in its first appearance in the grand final since 1999 and only its third appearance in the last 10 years. For Washington's varsity eight, it marked the seventh appearance on the medal platform, including its title in 1997, in the last eight years. The Kennedy Challenge Cup, the junior varsity trophy, also went to California as the Bears posted a length lead and a time of 5:36.32 in the victory. The Huskies struggled through the middle part of the race but used an impressive sprint over the final 500-meters to get back into medal contention. Washington and Cornell, the crews that had a photo finish in heat racing, once again were separated by two-10ths of a second, only this time it was the Big Red who got the upper hand as Cornell won the silver medal at 5:38.7 and Washington took the bronze at 5:38.91. The Steward's Cup, successfully retained by the Washington freshmen, was first presented at the 1900 IRA Regatta on the Hudson River. This year marked the 12th time since that first presentation that the Cup has gone to a Washington crew.
Last Year's NCAA Championships Recap
Washington captured national championships in the two premier races, but was unable to claim the overall team title June 2 during the final day of the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park. The Huskies raced to impressive triumphs in the varsity eight and second varsity (junior varsity) events. It marked the first time since 1987 that UW won both of those featured races at the championships. Brown became the first NCAA team champion that did not also win the varsity eight race. The Bears amassed 67 points, four ahead of Washington's 63-point total. California placed third with 44 points and Virginia was fourth with 43. The team title was effectively out of Washington's reach before the eights even hit the water. Brown earned 12 points by virtue of its varsity four grand final victory and UW got three for a fourth-place petite final effort. The nine-point differential required the Huskies to finish two places ahead of Brown in the other two races, a near impossible task considering the elite level of the Bear boats. The team champion is determined by a combination of results from each of the three events. Top-ranked Washington captured its third team title last spring by virtue of first-place performances by the varsity eight and varsity four and a runner-up effort by the second varsity. The Huskies also won team championships in 1997 and 1998. Brown, the 1999 and 2000 team champion, was the only school to qualify a boat in each of the three grand finals. No team has ever won the NCAA women's team title without an entry in all three championship races. The main event featured a grand final confrontation between undefeated crews from Washington and Brown that between them had won all five previous NCAA varsity eight races. The defending champion Huskies raced to victories in 1997, 1998 and 2001 while the Bears won in 1999 and 2000. As was the case in the first two rounds, the Huskies' varsity eight never trailed. They went wire-to-wire en route to a boat-length victory over Brown. Washington kept its perfect record intact while winning its second straight and fourth overall NCAA varsity eight championship. The Huskies won the second varsity race for the first time since 1994. The UW varsity four placed third in its semifinal race Saturday, but only the top two finishers advanced to the six-boat grand final.
Bob Ernst is in his 29th season of coaching at Washington and his 16th year as head coach of the men's team. Ernst is the only coach in the country to lead both a men's and women's crew to national titles. He is joined by freshman coach Fred Honebein, who directed his crews to back-to-back IRA Championships in 2001 and 2002. Jan Harville is in her 23rd year with the program and her 16th as the women's head coach. She was named the 2001 Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sports Star of the Year after leading the Huskies to their third NCAA team title. Harville is assisted by novice coach Eleanor McElvaine and assistant varsity coach Erin O'Connell.
Washington announced its 2003 team captains during Class Day festivities on March 29. Senior Carrie Stasiak (St. Catharines, Ontario), a fourth-year rower who is currently in the varsity No. 7 seat, is the women's captain. Senior Charles Minett (Stratford, Ontario), a fourth-year rower who is currently the No 6 seat in the junior varsity eight, was named captain of the men's team.
2002 Season Recap
No other rowing program in the country had as outstanding a year as the Washington men's and women's crews combined. The women won the NCAA varsity and junior varsity eight titles en route to a second-place team finish. The Husky men won gold medals in the freshman eight and open four events at the IRA Championships and earned bronze in both the varsity and junior varsity eights.
IRA Regatta History
The Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta is the oldest collegiate rowing championship in the country, and remains the premier event for national rowing honors for college men. The first IRA Regatta, on June 24, 1895, was a four-miler between Columbia, the winner, Cornell and Pennsylvania. In 1923, Washington, coached by Rusty Callow, became the first Western school to win the IRA, followed by another victory in 1926. When Callow left Seattle to coach at Pennsylvania, he was succeeded by his assistant Al Ulbrickson, who continued the Husky winning ways with six IRA titles in 1936, 1937, 1940, 1941 and 1950. His freshman, jayvee and varsity crews "swept the river" in '36, '37, '48 and '49. Current Huskies head coach Bob Ernst led his Washington team to a modern-day sweep in 1997, when UW crews won all three races on the Cooper River, site of the 2002 Championships.
IRA Racing Format
Competition at the IRA Regatta consists of heats, repechage (second chance), semi-finals, and finals. The repechage race assures that the three fastest crews advance to the semifinal round. The winners of each four heats advance to the semi-final round while the remaining crews are reassigned to repechage races. The top two finishers in each repechage also advance to the semi-finals, rounding out the 12-crew field. The top three crews in each semi-final make up the six boats in the grand final. The varsity and freshman eights qualify for the final under this system. Because of the number of entrants in the second varsity (junior varsity) event, the semi-final round is not needed. Winners of the three heats advance directly to the final and are joined by the winners of each of three repechage heats.
Championship-Tested Husky Men
Seventeen Washington athletes have prior IRA Championships experience, including all but one member of the varsity eight. The varsity eight boat is comprised of six rowers who earned gold medals during the Huskies' back-to-back freshman eight championships. Marko Petrovic, Sam Burns and Andy Derrick were in the 2001 UW freshman boat and Ante Kusurin, Guseppe Lanzone and Kyle Larson were in the 2002 championship frosh crew. The only varsity eight rower without IRA experience is sophomore Brett Newlin who transferred to Washington from Michigan State in January. The Huskies' second varsity has three IRA first-timers, Gints Salaks, John Taylor and Seth Berling. Matt Kopicky and Scott Gault were IRA gold medalists in UW's freshman eight last year. Washington's varsity four has three members of last year's IRA champion open four, including coxswain Melissa Wengard, Jeff Jorgensen and Evan Galloway. Obviously, the entire UW freshman eight crew has no previous IRA experience.
A Glance at the 2003 Washington Men's Varsity Eight
Competing for the Varsity Challenge Cup ... Pac-10 Champions ... The only crew to defeat four-time IRA champion California during the last five seasons, having beaten once in 2002 and again in 2003 ... Extremely young crew (4 sophomores, 3 juniors & only 1 senior rower) ... Undefeated since April 28 when No. 3 seat Kyle Larson joined the crew in place of Dusan Nikolic. That change also coincided with the move of Ante Kusurin to stroke ... Finished first in the last four races, capped by the Pac-10 championships May 18 at Lake Natoma where UW upset five-time conference champion California, then the nation's top-ranked varsity eight crew ... Won five of eight races this season ... Only losses came at the San Diego Classic (April 6) against California, at Wisconsin (April 19) and against California (April 26) in a dual regatta in Seattle ... Did not finish lower than second place all year ... Three rowers were true novices when they entered college. Junior Sam Burns and sophomore Kyle Larson began their rowing careers at Washington while sophomore Brett Newlin started rowing for the club team at Michigan State before transferring the UW in January ... Sunior coxswain Ryan Marks has directed three crews to medals at the IRAs, garnering a silver with the freshman eight in 2000 and a bronze with the varsity eight in both 2001 and 2002 ... Marks, Marko Petrovic, John Lorton and Sam Burns return from last year's varsity eight boat that placed third at the 2002 IRAs.
Long before rowing became an NCAA Championship-sanctioned event, the Huskies were a fixture at the collegiate championships and collected several national titles. The first women's collegiate championship was contested in 1980 in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Washington won its first varsity eight title in 1981, the first of an unprecedented five straight varsity titles. They won back-to-back varsity gold medals in 1987 and '88 before earning the first NCAA title in 1997. The Huskies made a clean sweep of the varsity and junior varsity eight and varsity four in 1987.
Here's a look at the pre-NCAA years that Washington crews won national titles:
Varsity Eight - 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1997, 1998
Junior Varsity Eight- 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1994
Varsity Four - 1987, 1999, 2000
Championship-Tested UW Women
Just over half of the 23 Husky rowers competing in the three different events have prior NCAA Championship experience. The majority of those NCAA veterans come from the varsity eight boat. All nine members of the UW varsity eight competed at last year's NCAA regatta, eight of them winning gold medals. Five members of the 2002 first-place varsity eight return along with three members of the second varsity winner. The only non-medalist in the varsity eight is Mary Reeves who was on the 10th-place varsity four last season. The Huskies' second varsity has only one athlete with previous NCAA experience, stroke Sanda Hangan who was in the gold medalist second varsity. The UW varsity four has two rowers with NCAA experience, but no medalists.
A Glance at the 2003 Washington Women's Varsity Eight
Two-time defending champions ... Pac-10 runner-up ... Veteran crew that has seven seniors, including coxswain Anne Hessburg, and two juniors ... Hessburg directed three UW crews to medals at the NCAAs, garnering a gold with the varsity four in 2000, a silver with the second varsity eight in 2001 and a gold with the second varsity eight in 2002 ... Won four of eight races this season ... Only losses came at the San Diego Classic (April 6) against California in both the semifinals and finals, against Belarus (May 3) in the Windermere Cup Regatta in Seattle and against Stanford (May 18) in the Pac-10 finals ... Did not finish lower than second place all year ... Five rowers return from the 2002 championship boat, including stroke Lauren Estevenin along with Carrie Stasiak, Adrienne Hunter, Heidi Hurn and Yvonneke Stenken. Estevenin, Stasiak and Hunter are vying to become the first four-time champions in Husky history. The trio won a national title as freshmen in 2000 on the varsity four crew and rowed in the back-to-back varsity eight winners in 2001 and 2002.
2003 Pac-10 Championships Recap
The fourth-ranked Washington men upset No. 1 California to win the varsity eight championship and the UW women won the team title May 18 at the Pacific-10 Conference Rowing Championships on Lake Natoma. The Husky men won their first conference varsity eight crown since 1997, stopping the Golden Bears' streak of five straight victories in the Pac-10 regatta. California has lost only two races since the start of the 1999 season, both defeats came against Washington which beat the four-time defending NCAA champions last year in a dual meet at Berkeley. Washington went wire-to-wire in the featured race, registering a seven-seat triumph. Although they didn't win any individual women's events, the Huskies received the Pac-10 team trophy by virtue of lofty finishes in all four events. The Huskies finished third in the novice eight competition and placed second in the three other races, the varsity eight, junior varsity eight and varsity four events. Stanford was a surprising winner in the women's varsity eight race, halting Washington's streak of 11 consecutive conference championships. The top-ranked Huskies and No. 2 California entered as the pre-race favorites, having split their two meetings this season. The sixth-ranked Cardinal overtook Washington near the mid-way point of the race and had open water at the finish. The Huskies had streak of six straight women's junior varsity championships halted as they were narrowly defeated by California. The Husky men's junior varsity eight also finished second to Cal. The Huskies staged a furious sprint at the end of the men's varsity four race, but California held them off by two seats at the finish. Washington placed second to Cal in the women's varsity four race, holding off a late charge from third-place Washington State. UCLA was the women's novice eight winner with an impressive four-second victory over runner-up California. The Huskies were third.