March 28, 2009
SEATTLE - Husky crew kicked off its season Saturday with a very cold, drizzly Class Day Regatta. The crews battled near-freezing temperatures and steady rain on Montlake Cut in the traditional opening to the spring season.
"We're off and running," said Director of Rowing and women's head coach Bob Ernst. "This is Husky crew season now."
The day was highlighted by strong rowing by all the Washington boats. The first two races showcased the depth of both the men's and women's programs. The morning started with a 10:00 am women's varsity/novice challenge race. Washington's varsity boat coxed by Laura Dally notched a win over two novice crews and a combined crew of varsity and novice rowers. Dally's eight crossed the finish in 7:21.1, coming in about half a length ahead of the novices.
The morning's second race was extremely close as a combo varsity boat, made up of members of the classes of '09, '10 and '11 and coxed by senior Patrick Kavanagh, barely eked out a win over the second freshman boat, coxed by Samuel Ojserkis. Kavanagh's eight finished in 6:15.6, just a second ahead of the freshmen, who crossed the line in 6:16.8.
In the third race of the day, the juniors notched a convincing win in The Seattle Times Eight, coming in at 6:48.3, about seven seconds ahead of the seniors. The shell, coxed by Isabelle Woodward and stroked by Heather Young, managed to start hot and keep a steady tempo throughout the race, pulling out a victory by nearly a length. The novices came in third in 7:05.0 and the sophomores finished fourth in 7:15.0.
"They complained all year that they should have won last year and they broke their footboard or something like that," commented Ersnt. "But they rowed really well today and they got some revenge. They have a really strong class. They won the race. It was a commendable performance and I think it's really good. I was particularly impressed, too, with the way the novices rowed today. A lot of those kids are first year rowers and they did a nice job."
The final race of the day was the George M. Varnell men's eight. About 11 seconds separated the four crews. The freshmen won the eight for the second straight year and the third time in the last four years, pulling across the line in 5:55.7. The shell, coxed by Laura Denman and stroked by Mathis Jessen, took a commanding lead early and never relinquished, beating the second place sophomores by almost a full length. The sophomores crossed the line in 6:00.7, followed by the juniors in 6:04.9 and finally the seniors in 6:06.6.
"It's a good start for the year," said men's freshman coach Luke McGee. " I think after last year, when they won this one and then stumbled a little bit in the last race of the year, the focus this year is definitely winning IRAs in Sacramento. They did well. It was good for their first race and gives them a little bit of confidence for next weekend. They were very sharp. We're kind of at the start of things right now, so we'll see what happens."
"I am very pleased with the team's performance," said men's head coach Michael Callahan. "The freshmen were expected to have good speed and they showed it. This is probably one of the most anticipated Class Day Regattas we've had in a long, long time. We knew if the freshmen came out, they could be the third freshman boat to win Class Day in the last four years. To put some perspective on that, freshmen hadn't won Class Day since 1948, so the fact that they've done it three times in the last four years shows the level of athlete that's coming in to the University of Washington. We're really proud of the way they're rowing right now. The future of this program looks extremely bright."
After the races, the 2009 team captains were named and several awards were presented. Matthew Mackinnon and Bridget Claycomb were honored with the Schaller Award, which is annually presented to the rowers with the highest GPAs. David Van Bolt and Lia Prins were named Most Inspirational and Matt Zapel was given the Dick Erickson Scholarship. The 2009 team captains are Kim Kennedy and Rob Gibson.
Also included in the post-race festivities Saturday was the formal dedication of The Hunter, the women's eight shell that won gold for the U.S. at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. On hand to celebrate were the family of Hunter Simpson, who donated the boat and for whom the boat is named, and Mary Whipple and Anna (Mickelson) Cummins, who were both members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. The Simpson family also donated to UW the 1984 gold-winning women's shell, Jane's Friendship and several members of that crew were also in attendance.
Washington rowing is back in action next Saturday and Sunday at the San Diego Crew Classic on Mission Bay in San Diego. Other members of the crew will race at home on Montlake Cut next Saturday in the Husky Open. For the complete schedule and results, log on to GoHuskies.com.
Complete Class Day Lineups and Results
Race 1 - Women's Varsity / Novice Challenge
First - Varsity, 7:21.1
(Cox- Sarah Aylard, 7- Monique Calderon, 6- Audrey Baker, 5- Blakeley Holland, 4- Lauren Bresnahan, 3- Sarah Martin, 2- Emily Koltuniak, bow- Ana Stoudt)
Second - Novice 1, 7:25.7
(Cox- Aya Shimizu, stroke- Annie Johns, 7- Schuyler Pearman-Gillman, 6- Helen Tilghman, 5-Haley Yeager, 4- Sarah Velling, 3- Alexis Pong, 2- Jona Ensley, bow- Carina French)
Third - Novice/Varsity, 7:42.0
(Cox- Michelle Miyauchi, stroke- Kelly Myers, 7- Whitney Wood, 6- Leslie White, 5- Lauren Fritts, 4- Andrea Smith, 2-Madeline Olanie, bow- Leah Tormey)
Fourth - Novice 2, 7:36.4
(Cox- Kelsey Meyer, stroke- Melanie Nelson, 7- Maggie Henley, 6- Birgitte Gingold, 5- Janie Schwarz, 4- Sydney Clark, 3- Sarah Scwisow, 2- Ashley Ahlstrom, bow- Elizabeth Weidner)
Race 2 - Men's Varsity / Freshman Challenge
First - Combo Boat: Classes '09, '10, '11, 6:15.6
(Cox- Niles Garratt, 7- John Collins, 5- Casey Dobrowolski, 4- Alex Pekasky, 3- Christopher Plumer, 2- Alex Keats, bow- Ricky Bargreen)
Second - Freshman 1, 6:16.8
(Cox- Alan Meininghaus, 7- Stephen Silverstein, 6- Jethro Van't Hul, 5- Thomas Kicinski, 4- Robert Squires, 3- Clarence Miller, 2- Reiner Hershaw, bow- Ryan Byarlay)
Third - Freshman 2, 6:25.0
(Cox- Elizabeth Mackeen, stroke- Pavel Mantchev, 7- Leland Quinn, 6- Joseph Hamm, 5- Oliver Enquist, 4- Andrew Perkins, 3- Andrew Henry, 2- David Worley (Class of '07), bow- Heath Allen (Class of '08))
Race 3 - The Seattle Times Women's Eight
First - Juniors, 6:48.3
(Cox- Kayleigh Mack, 6- Erika Shaw, 5-Jennifer Park, 4- Alison Browning, 3- Adrienne Martelli, 2- Erin Knox, bow- Rosie DeBoef)
Second - Seniors, 6:55.1
(Cox- Ariana Tanimoto, stroke- Rachel Powers, 7- Veronica Tamsitt, 6- Helen Wall, 3- Ali Steiner, 2- Laura Cooper, bow- Samantha Smith)
Third - Freshmen, 7:05.0
(Cox- Lauren Wands, stroke- Sydney Collins, 7- Adriene De Leuw, 6- Erin Lauber, 5- Hanna Lauth, 4- Victoria Nenchev, 3- Ailish O'Sullivan, 2- Markee Murphy, bow- Gillian Pennington)
Fourth - Sophomores, 7:15.0
(Cox- Katherine Mahoney, stroke- Gina Matteo, 7- Hanne Trafnik, 6- Kira O'Sullivan, 5- Sarah Ryan, 4- Kerry Simmonds, 3- Jessica Thimmig, 2- Hannah Austin, bow- Ka'i'ini Macarro)
Race 4 - George M. Varnell Men's Eight
First - Freshmen, 5:55.7
(Cox- Tom Lehmann, 6- Conlin McCabe, 5- Jay Thompson, 4- Justin Hopkins, 3- Robert Munn, 2- Ambrose Puttmann, bow- Jeffrey Gibbs)
Second - Sophomores, 6:00.7
(Cox- Michelle Darby, stroke- Hans Struzyna, 7- Noah O'Connell, 6- Nenad Bulicic, 5- Anthony Jacob, 4- Ty Otto, 2- Bede Clarke, bow- Trevor Walchenbach)
Third - Juniors, 6:04.9
(Cox- Valaree Fowler, stroke- Simon Taylor, 7- Max Weaver, 6- Roko Svast, 5- Blaise Didier, 4- Dane Robbins, 2- Jamie North, bow- Kit Culbert)
Fourth - Seniors, 6:06.6
(Cox- Katelin Snyder, stroke- Will Crothers, 7- Lowell Neal, 6- Bart-Jan Caron, 5- Max Lang, 4- Jessiah Johnson, 3- Peter Carlson, 2- David Van Bolt, bow- Stephen Connolly)