April 7, 2002
San Diego - The Washington women's varsity eight-oared crew regained its hold on the Jessop Whittier Cup and the Husky men's varsity eight narrowed the gap but still trailed rival California in the Copley Cup - the two premier races of the season-opening regatta - at the 29th annual San Diego Crew Classic on Mission Bay Sunday afternoon.
In all, Washington won gold medals in four of the six premier races at the regatta that features over 3,200 competitors from across the country. The Husky men's junior varsity crew staged one of the most dramatic races of the day en route to its third straight and 16th overall win in the race that began in 1973. The junior varsity women successfully defended their title with a boat-length win over a strong Virginia crew. The freshman men tallied the largest margin of victory as they crossed the line a length and one-half ahead of rival California. In the novice women's race, cross-state rival Washington State narrowly edged the Huskies for the gold medal, snapping a four-year win streak in the event for UW.
The Whittier Cup, the premier women's race of the regatta, was all Washington this year as the Huskies claimed the trophy for the 10th time in the last 11 years. Defending champion USC, who snapped a nine-year UW streak last season, did not qualify for the final. The Huskies led from start to finish, covering the 2,000-meter course in 6 minutes, 24.69 seconds and about three-quarters a boat length ahead of Ohio State (6:27.62). With 500-meters remaining, there was less than a length separating the Huskies, Buckeyes and California, who crossed at 6:28.94.
"It felt like we were flying today," said team captain and five seat Jenni Vesnaver. "The speed was amazing. We were expecting a dog fight out there. We respect the competition and we know there is a lot of speed out there. All the competition is fast. We wanted to get out there and set the tone for the rest of the season."
The Copley Cup, the premier men's race that was first staged in 1978, got off to a quick start under a quartering tailwind. Three-time defending champion California and Washington had open water on the field, with the Bears a slim two seats up on the Huskies, by the time both boats reached the 500-meter mark. At the halfway point, it was still Cal and Washington with Oregon State chasing. The Bears took their stroke rate up to 37 with 500-meters to go and sailed home from there, crossing the finish line in a time of 5:35.62 over the 2,000-meter course. It was the second-fastest time in the history of the race, topping the mark of 5:35.1 set by Penn in 1986. Washington was five seconds back, at 5:40.44 and Oregon State was next at 5:42.24.
"It was a fast race and Cal rowed a really, really smart race," said UW men's coach Bob Ernst. "They (Cal) have a lot of veterans in there and a lot of street smarts and they came flying down that course at 38, 39 strokes a minute. There was a little bit of a tail wind and that makes it a bit easier to row that high rate. We're just not ready for that right now. We tried to row it in 34, 35 and you're just going to get rowed away from in a situation like that. They are a very good crew. A margin less than five seconds, it's hard to rejoice in something like that, but it's the closest we've come to Cal in four years. We have seven weeks left in the racing season and we have three more shots at them."
Washington's junior varsity men staged a furious sprint over the final 500-meters of their race, coming from four seats down on California to win by eight-tenths of a second, crossing in 5:47.6 to the Bears' 5:48.40. A second California boat was third at 6:02.19. It was a tight race the length of the course, with Cal moving up four seats at the halfway point and taking nearly six seats entering the final 500. The Huskies, rowing in lane one, kicked it up a gear and started gaining on Cal as the boats entered the 400-meter mark and then took control of the race in the home stretch and crossed barely a seat ahead of the Bears. It was the fourth consecutive win and 15th overall for the UW freshmen in the event.
"With about 500-meters left, we decided to go, as we are coached to do," said junior two seat Charles Minnett. "We put together a really good sprint to get through Cal. They moved out on us and we wanted to keep within striking distance. Once we realized they had stopped moving, we put the hammer down and systematically took a few seats. Once we got through two or three seats, we just went off the momentum and rolled right through them. Once you have that momentum going, all the tiredness just flushes out of you, all the fatigue goes and it's pure adrenaline from there. It's pretty exciting."
The junior varsity women used a fast start to gain an early lead in their race, holding a three-seat lead on California and Virginia. The Cavaliers moved ahead of the Bears 300 meters later but Washington maintained its narrow lead. The Huskies sat a half length ahead of the two entering the final 500 and increased the margin with their sprint over the final 300-meters. Washington crossed the line at 5:47.6, a length ahead of Virginia at 6:45.12. It was the 16th win in the event for the jayvee women.
Washington's freshmen men set the tone early in their race and never let up, taking a five-seat lead on California and Oregon State at the halfway point and increasing it to nearly a full boat length entering the home stretch. By the final 150-meters, the Huskies had open water on the field and went on to win in a time of 5:59.7 to second-place Cal's 6:03.89. The rest of the field wasn't even close as third place Stanford crossed at 6:18.57. For Washington, it was the fourth straight win in the event and 15th overall.
The novice women's eight, recovered from a Saturday qualifying heat that saw them finish with only seven people rowing, put together a solid race but couldn't hold off Washington State as the Cougars snapped a four year Husky win streak by winning in 6:59.2. Washington crossed at 7:02.79.
The Huskies return home for their next competition. The women's team will host its annual dual regatta with Wisconsin and Washington State April 13 on the Montlake Cut. The Husky men take a week off before hosting Wisconsin April 20.
San Diego Crew Classic
Mission Bay, San Diego, Calif.
Sunny, brisk tailwind
April 7, 2002
Grand Final Results
Copley Cup (men's varsity eight)
1, California 5:35.62. 2, WASHINGTON 5:40.44. 3, Oregon State 5:42.24. 4, Temple 5:43.13. 5, Yale 5:50.42. 6, Stanford 6:02.88.
Jessop Whittier Cup (women's varsity eight)
1, WASHINGTON 6:24.69. 2, Ohio State 6:27.62. 3, California 6:28.94. 4, Notre Dame 6:35.31. 5, Virginia 6:36.46. 6, Washington State 6:39.79.
Men's Junior Varsity Eight
1, WASHINGTON 5:47.60. 2, California-A 5:48.80. 3, California-B 6:02.19. 4, Oregon State 6:07.75. 5, Yale 6:11.05. 6, Stanford 6:30.03.
UW lineup: cox: Chris O'Brien, stroke - Ian Harrison, 7 - Brendan Patterson, 6 - Peter Dembicki, 5 - Andy Derrick, 4 - Chris Hawkins, 3- John Kenfield, 2- Charles Minnett, bow- Matt Farrer.
Women's Junior Varsity Eight
1, WASHINGTON 6:41.12. 2, Virginia 6:45.12. 3, California 6:48.99. 4, Ohio State 6:55.01. 5, Clemson 6:55.54. 6, Texas 6:59.89.
Men's Freshman Eight
1, WASHINGTON 5:59.7. 2, California 6:03.89. 3, Stanford 6:18.57. 4, Orange Coast 6:20.87. 5, Oregon State 6:21.99. 6, George Washington 6:31.29.
UW lineup: cox: Greg King, stroke - Conor Musgrave, 7- Scott Gault, 6- Ante Kusurin, 5-Giuseppe Lanzone, 4-Kyle Larson, 3- Nick Hudson, 2- John Heylin, bow- Matt Kopicky.
Women's Novice Eight
1, Washington State 6:59.2. 2, WASHINGTON 7:00.79. 3, Oregon State 7:02.70. 4, Virginia 7:05.19. 5, California 7:05.52. 6, UCLA 7:29.63.
UW lineup: cox: Mollie Schweigert, stroke- Courtney Matson, 7-Gemma Edward-Aron, 6-Amanda Jensen, 5-Margaret Henry, 4- Katherine Ramos, 3- Nicole Younker, 2-Eva Hershaw, bow- Michael Kohan.