May 12, 2011
Setting the Scene: Pac-10 Championships
Regular-season rowing is over, and the Huskies will look to add some more hardware to their trophy cases at the Pac-10 Championships this Sunday. The racing takes place on the 2,000-meter course on Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif., beginning at 9:30 a.m. In the past, heat has been an issue in the Sacramento region, but weather on race day will have a decided Seattle feel - temps in the mid-60s and scattered showers. The overall championships are based on point accumulation, with the finish in the varsity 8+ as the ultimate tie-breaker.
Race No. 1 - Men's Freshmen Eight (9:30 a.m.)
Race No. 2 - Women's Novice Eight (9:50 a.m.)
Race No. 3 - Men's Varsity Four (10:10 a.m.)
Race No. 4 - Women's Varsity Four (10:30 a.m.)
Race No. 5 - Men's Second Varsity Eight (10:50 a.m.)
Race No. 6 - Women's Second Varsity Eight (11:10 a.m.)
Race No. 7 - Men's Varsity Eight (11:30 a.m.)
Race No. 8 - Women's Varsity Eight (11:50 a.m.)
The official Twitter page of the Husky Crew will have live in-race updates: http://Twitter.com/UWHuskyCrew. Post-race recap will be available on GoHuskies.com, the official Web site of Husky athletics. Live scoring is available on JAMCO.
In Search Of Hardware
The No. 1 UW men's varsity eight has won the Pac-10 Championship 33 times, including three times in the last four years. The women's crew is in search of their first title since 2002, but the Huskies have always been a dangerous player in the conference championship with 22 varsity eight wins in their history, which dates back to 1975.
Huskies Coaching Staff
Michael Callahan is in the middle of his fourth year as steward of the Husky men's crew program. The UW alum coached his team to a fourth consecutive Ten Eyck Championship. In 2009, Washington swept all three races at the IRA Regatta to capture a National Championship, and in the process became the first team to accomplish the feat since the Huskies also did so in 1997. Prior to taking over the men's coaching position, Callahan served for three seasons as the Huskies freshmen coach. A 1996 graduate of the University of Washington, Callahan has also been an active member on the international level, where he's competed and coached. Luke McGee handles the coaching duties for the freshmen, who are coming off back-to-back undefeated seasons in 2009-10.
The women's team is coached by the legendary Bob Ernst, who made the switch after a 20-year stint coaching the men's program. Ernst is no stranger to women's rowing, having shepherded the program to six National Championships from 1981-87. Ernst also has significant Olympics and International experience and has been involved with some facet of the UW program since 1974. In 1984, he coached the Gold Medal winning eight in the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Nicole Minett manages all coaching duties for the novice women.
Last Time Out
The 25th annual Windermere Cup was a celebration of Husky rowing, as both the men's and women's UW crews won their fifth straight titles. Despite high winds and rough water, Washington men's program was well ahead of Stanford and Cambridge while the women's program easily dispatched Oklahoma and Cambridge.
Each year after the Class Day Regatta, the Huskies select two captains to lead their program into the brunt of the spring season. This year, Maxwell Weaver and Kerry Simmonds will represent their boats and sport the star on Washington's traditional white oars.
Lake Natoma is a 2,000-meter course and the home venue of the Pac-10 Championship. Situated 15 miles northeast of Sacramento, Calif., Lake Natoma was created by Nimbus Dam across American River and is a regulating reservoir for releases from Folsom Lake. In the varsity races, the men's crew will be seeded in Lane 1, while the women are staked in Lane 6. Lake Natoma is widely considered one of the best venues in the United States for intercollegiate rowing.
Scouting The Huskies
Washington is ranked No. 1 in the USRowing/CRCA poll, and have now beaten both of their primary Pac-10 rivals - Cal and Stanford. The latter came at the 25th Windermere Cup, where the Huskies were 12.5 seconds ahead of the Cardinal on the Montlake Cut. On April 23, the Huskies rowed a calm, efficient race to defeat Cal and capture the Schoch Trophy. In the spring's first intercollegiate dual, Washington trounced Oregon State on the road, winning all four races against the ranked Beavers. In the fall, the Huskies went across the country and won at the Head of the Charles, and narrowly missed setting a course record in the process. On the women's side, the Dawgs picked up two wins at the San Diego Crew Classic, and then followed up that performance with a sweep of rival Washington State on the Snake River. Washington could not build off that momentum against Cal, losing all four races on the Montlake Cut to the Golden Bears. The Huskies rebounded, though, with a stellar effort at the Windermere Cup, displaying an ample amount of power in beating Oklahoma and Cambridge.
Scouting The Men's Field
The class of men's rowing has resided out west for the past few years, and the 2011 season is no different. Washington is ranked No. 1 in the USRowing/CRCA poll, followed by Cal at No. 2. The Cardinal of Stanford slipped to 13th while Oregon State rounds out the ranked Pac-10 schools at No. 17. Club programs USC, UCLA and Washington State will also compete.
Scouting The Women's Field
With three Pac-10 teams in the top-5 of the USRowing/CRCA poll, the level of talent in the conference is at an all-time high. Cal holds down the top spot in the poll while Stanford is No. 3. USC, which won the San Diego Crew Classic, is fourth. The Huskies are 7th and building speed after a successful showing at the Windermere Cup. Washington State, whom the Huskies swept earlier this season, are 14th while UCLA is 17th.
2010 Pac-10 Championship
In capturing their 33rd Pac-10 Championship, the Husky men's crew program dominated the field, winning all four races to take the maximum 72 points. The women's race was much closer, with Cal's swift performance in the Varsity 8+ race gave the title to the Golden Bears, a race where the Huskies finished fifth, and third overall in the Pac-10 standings. The Cal boat was spurred by the inspiring effort of coxswain Jill Costello, who was battling Stage IV lung cancer and has since passed away. Washington had wins in two of the four races, capturing medals in the Novice 8+ and the Varsity 4+ categories.
Summer Camp Selections
Earlier in April, four Husky women were invited to the U23 National Team camp. Seniors Kerry Simmonds and Michelle Darby, junior Erin Lauber and sophomore Madison Culp were all tapped to attend the camp, which will be held in San Diego and Princeton, N.J., this summer. Junior Ariana Tanimoto was put on the wait list. The rowers are competing for spots in the women's 8+ and 4x boats that will race at the FISA U23 World Championships in Amsterdam on July 21-24.
On the Horizon
Following the Pac-10s, the Huskies will return to Seattle to train for the ultimate prize in rowing - a national championship. The women's crew team will head back to Sacramento for the NCAAs on May 27-29, while the men's crew team is off to Cherry Hill, N.J. to race in the IRAs.