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All Four UW Boats Cruise into Grand Finals at IRA Regatta
Release: 06/01/2007
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June 1, 2007


CHERRY HILL, N.J. - Washington's entire four-boat fleet qualified for Saturday's grand finals, including the varsity eight and open four crews that won their races Friday during the second day of the men's Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) championships on the Cooper River.

The Huskies' second-varsity eight and freshman eight crews each recorded runner-up finishes in their semifinals to advance to the grand finals.

The Huskies surged to the front early in the opening varsity eight semifinal and remained in control throughout the entire 2,000-meter course. UW registered a time of 5-minutes, 37-seconds to finish with a two-seat victory. Second-place Princeton and third-place Stanford closed the gap in the final 500 meters, finishing in 5:38.25 and 5:38.75, respectively.

Those three crews will be joined in Saturday's grand final by the top-three finishers from the other semifinal. UW's Pac-10 rival California won that race in 5:32.52, dealing second-ranked Harvard its first loss of the season. The Crimson finished in 5:32.79 followed by Brown in 5:33.79.

Harvard's setback leaves Washington as the nation's only undefeated varsity eight crew. UW seeks to complete a perfect season Saturday with its first national title in 10 years. The Huskies last won the championship in 1997, also the last year a UW varsity eight crew posted a perfect season against collegiate competition. Since then the Huskies' best finishes were a trio of silver-medal performances, in 1998, 2003 and 2004.

The six-boat grand final field is formidable, including Harvard and California crews that combined to win the last eight IRA titles. The Golden Bears were victorious last year, halting Harvard's three-year championship run. Cal won four consecutive years from 1999-2002.

"Tomorrow is the big day," said junior Steve Full, who rowed in last year's varsity championship race. "The grand final is going to be a showdown the whole way down. I don't think anyone is going to give anybody and inch. There are going to be boats taking moves constantly. We've just got to be on our game."

Coach Bob Ernst anticipates that his Huskies will do just that.

"It's going to be a great race tomorrow," he said. "I expect these guys to go real fast tomorrow. They just need to row within themselves and not make any foolish mistakes and I think they will do all right."

The UW second varsity eight raced to a runner-up finish for the second straight day. Two "UW" crews battled the entire length of the course before Wisconsin pushed ahead at the finish, winning by a deck. The Badgers' time was 5:40.30 and the Huskies finished in 5:40.94. California was third in 5:45.54.

"We know what we need to do," junior Andrew Beaton said of the second varsity grand final race. "We know that Wisconsin doesn't know what our last 500 can really be like. I expect a hard race, a close race. All across the board it's going to be close. It's going to come down to whoever is able to push themselves the hardest."

Completing the second varsity grand finals group is second semifinal winner Brown (5:42.00), Harvard (5:43.14) and Cornell (5:43.18).

The UW freshman eight was edged at the finish line by a hard-charging Harvard crew. The Huskies were frontrunners from the start of the semifinal, but never led by more than seven seats. The Crimson surged over the final 10 strokes, winning by a bow ball. Harvard's winning time was 5:40.83 and UW finished in 5:40.96. Yale had a third-place time of 5:47.11

"This was one of the hardest races we have had because we had to go for the full length of the course. For 2,000 meters we went full throttle," said Roko Svast, who pulls the No. 6 oar for UW. "It's a real pleasure to be here. An even bigger pleasure than to be here is actually to go home with a medal. So, we're here to do the job and we are hoping to get the best medal we can."

California won Friday's other freshman semifinal in 5:40.20, followed by Brown in 5:44.22 and Princeton in 5:46.24.

The Huskies needed a first-place repechage finish in the open four event to earn a grand finals berth. They responded with a convincing open-water victory that propelled them into Saturday's championship race.

The UW four was sent into the repechage round after finishing second to Princeton in Thursday's heat race.

The three heat winners from Thursday, Princeton, Cornell and Northeastern, automatically advanced to the final race. They will be joined in the six-boat grand final by UW, Syracuse and California, winners of the repechage races.

The Husky four went wire-to-wire for the win. They started fast, along with Wisconsin, and quickly pulled away from the field. UW began putting distance between its boat and Wisconsin at the 500-meter mark and steadily drew away from the Badgers.

Washington covered the course in 6:37.89. Wisconsin was second in 6:44.67, followed by George Washington (6:59.92), Pennsylvania (7:04.53) and Boston University (7:07.90).

The current crew is seeking to continue a heritage of success that has seen the Huskies win five consecutive national championships in four-oared events. Washington won the varsity four title at the 2003 and 2004 IRA regattas and the open four in 2002, 2005 and 2006. This year's UW four is entered in the open race, with rules dictating that each crew must contain at least one freshman rower.

"I stroked last year's open four to the national championship, so I'm a part of that legacy," sophomore Peter Carlson said of UW's success in fours. "It's fun to be able to come out here and do it again. Hopefully we can put it together and make it happen."

Husky crews won national championships last year in the freshman eight and open four events. The varsity eight placed fifth in 2006 and the second varsity was fourth. All four of this year's UW entries are still in medal contention.

The Huskies won at least one event title in each of the last six IRA regattas.

Washington, California, Brown and Harvard each advanced a crew into grand finals for all of the three major eight-oared events: the varsity, second varsity and freshman races. The Huskies were the last team to "sweep the river" in those events, winning all three races in 1997. That was UW's fifth all-time sweep as the rare feat was also accomplished in 1936, 1937, 1948 and 1950.

Due to the potential of inclement weather projected for Saturday afternoon in southern New Jersey, the final day's schedule has been altered slightly. The race times have been revised so that the regatta will end nearly one hour earlier. The featured men's varsity eight grand final is now slated for 12:12 p.m. Eastern Time (9:12 Pacific).

2007 Men's Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships
Friday, June 1, 2007
Cooper River; Cherry Hill, N.J.
(all races were 2,000 meters)


Varsity Eights
(top-three finishers in each semifinal advance to grand final)

Semifinal I -- 1, Washington 5:37.00. 2, Princeton 5:38.25. 3, Stanford 5:38.75. 4, Cornell 5:43.73. 5, Michigan 5:46.84. 6, Northeastern 5:48.70.

Semifinal II -- California 5:32.52. 2, Harvard 5:32.79. 3, Brown 5:33.79. 4, Yale 5:33.88. 5, Wisconsin 5:36.31. 6, Oregon State 5:55.02.

Grand Final Qualifiers: Washington, Princeton, Stanford, California, Harvard, Brown.

     UW lineup: cox- Katelin Snyder, stroke- Will Crothers, 7- Heath Allen, 6- Aljosa Corovic, 5- Rob Gibson, 4- David Worley, 3- Steve Full, 2- Jessiah Johnson, bow- Max Lang.

Second Varsity Eights
(top-three finishers in each semifinal advance to grand final)

Semifinal I -- 1, Wisconsin 5:40.30. 2, Washington 5:40.94. 3, California 5:45.54. 4, Yale "A" 5:46.64. 5, Harvard "B" 5:50.53. 6, Northeastern 5:55.99.

Semifinal II -- Brown 5:42.00. 2, Harvard "A" 5:43.14. 3, Cornell 5:43.18. 4, Syracuse 5:51.59. 5, Yale "B" 5:55.15. 6, Pennsylvania 5:59.13.

Grand Final Qualifiers: Wisconsin, Washington, California, Brown, Harvard, Cornell.

     UW lineup: cox- Micah Perrin, stroke- Bart-Jan Caron, 7- Lowell Neal, 6- Andrew Beaton, 5- Trevor Mollenkopf, 4- Drew Fowler, 3- Derek DeVries, 2- David VanBolt, bow- Alan Oriard.

Freshman Eights
(top-three finishers in each semifinal advance to grand final)

Semifinal I -- 1, Harvard 5:40.83. 2, Washington 5:40.96. 3, Yale 5:47.11. 4, Orange Coast College 5:48.61. 5, Stanford 6:00.71. 6, Georgetown 6:08.90.

Semifinal II -- 1, California 5:40.20. 2, Brown 5:44.22. 3, Princeton 5:46.24. 4, Northeastern 5:49.77. 5, Cornell 5:51.57. 6, George Washington 6:11.52.

Grand Final Qualifiers: Harvard, Washington, Yale, California, Brown, Princeton.

     UW lineup: cox- Michael Welly, stroke- Aaron Luke, 7- Graham Oglend, 6- Roko Svast, 5- Blaise Didier, 4- Simon Taylor, 3- Dane Robbins, 2- Kit Culbert, bow- Maxwell Weaver.

Open Fours
(winners to grand final)

Repechage I -- 1, Washington 6:37.89. 2, Wisconsin "B" 6:44.67. 3, George Washington 6:59.92. 4, Pennsylvania 7:04.53. 5, Boston University 7:07.90.

Repechage II -- 1, Syracuse 6:46.29. 2, Harvard 6:50.19. 3, Georgetown 6:57.03. 4, Navy 7:05.41.

Repechage III -- 1, California 6:38.11. 2, Wisconsin "A" 6:42.72. 3, Yale 6:57.61. 4, Michigan 7:01.17. 5, Dartmouth 7:20.98.

Grand Final Qualifiers: Princeton, Cornell, Northeastern, Washington, Syracuse, California

     UW lineup: cox- Leah Downey, stroke- Peter Carlson, 3- Mike Flight, 2- David Goulet, bow- James Olson.

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