May 9, 2012
The inaugural Pac-12 Championships are on deck for the Huskies, who are hitting their stride after a highly successful outing at the Windermere Cup. With the regular season behind them, the Huskies can now focus on adding some silverware to the trophy cases at Conibear Shellhouse when they take to the water against the best in conference this Sunday.
All racing takes place on the 2,000-meter course on Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif., which is located just outside of Sacramento. Temperatures are expected to reach the 90s, meaning the Huskies will have to be on guard against the elements as well as the speed of other crews.
The four boats featured at the Pac-12 Championships are the varsity eight, the second varsity eight, the freshmen/novice eight and the varsity four.
The Washington men are the No. 1 crew in the nation, and therefore have the top seed - and preferred lane assignment - at Lake Natoma. The UW women head into Pac-12s ranked eighth nationally and will be seeded third at the conference championships. There are no heats, only a one-time shot down the Lake Natoma course. The overall Pac-12 championship is based on point accumulation, meaning the Huskies need to do well in the entire buffet of races on Sunday, with the finish in the Varsity 8+ being the ultimate tiebreaker.
Pac-12 Championship Schedule
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 also have live in-race updates: http://www.twitter.com/UWHuskyCrew. Post-race recap and video interviews will be also available on GoHuskies.com. Live timing will be available courtesy of JAMCO.
In Search Of Hardware
The Washington men's crew program has won the Pac-10 Championship 34 times, including four 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 his fifth year as steward of the Husky men's crew program. The UW alum coached his team to a fifth consecutive Ten Eyck Championship, a first in collegiate rowing. In 2011, Washington won all but one IRA race to capture its 14th National Championship, and the third in five years for the program. 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. Now in his fifth season at UW, McGee has led the Grunties (as freshmen are known in Husky parlance) to two IRA Gold Medals and two Silver Medals.
The women's team is coached by the legendary Bob Ernst, who made the switch in 2007 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 invloved with some facet of the UW program since 1974. In 1984, he coached the Gold Medal winning eight in the Los Angeles Olympic Games. In his first season at Washington, Conor Bullis manages all coaching duties for the women's novice rowers.
Last Time Out
The Washington men and women both laid claim to their sixth straight Windermere Cup title, topping invited guest Argentina and a host of other visitors in front of tens of thousands of fans who lined the Montlake Cut. In the 26th running of the event, the Huskies won nine of 10 races overall.
The Husky men defended their No. 1 ranking with a near 15-second win over Argentina, finishing the 2,000-meter course in 5:45.00. Washington's women were just as dominant in taking down Gonzaga and Argentina, crossing the finish line with a time of 6:35.9, which was almost 17 seconds ahead of second-place Gonzaga (6:53.6).
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.
Fans who attend the Pac-12 Championships will need to pay at $5 admission fee at the course entrance. For those who arrive by car, a $10 parking fee is also required.
Scouting The Huskies
Washington's men again held on to their No.1 ranking after a thorough takedown of Argentina at the Windermere Cup. The Huskies have maintained the top spot in the polls since taking over on April 11. UW has yet to lose a race this season, winning each 2,000-meter sprint it has entered by open water.
The Husky women are No. 8 in the nation according to the CRCA/USRowing poll, and have fared well against Pac-12 competition this season. Washington was faster than both Cal and Stanford at the season-opening San Diego Crew Classic. This gave the Huskies plenty of optimism heading to the dual with California weeks later, which saw the Golden Bears sweep all four races against their archrivals.
2011 Pac-10 Championships
The 2011 Pac-10 Championship came down to the two best varsity crews in the nation, meaning either Washington or Cal would be able to claim bragging rights as the league's best program.
This time around, the spoils went to UW.
With the 1.7 second victory in the varsity eight final, the Huskies clinched the 2011 rowing title, the 34th in program history, and the fourth in the past five years for UW.
The Huskies won three out of four races at the final Pac-10 Championships, with the only hiccup a silver-medal finish in the novice eight.
On the women's side, the Huskies brought home two medals from Lake Natoma, finishing second in the varsity four and third in the novice eight. California won the overall title, as well as the varsity eight race.
Scouting The Men's Field
Traditionally, California is the Huskies biggest threat to the conference crown. And this year, it's no different as the Golden Bears held on to the No. 4 spot in the national rankings after sweeping Stanford in the Big Row last weekend. Last year, California finished second to Washington in three of the four races at Pac-10's, winning the freshmen eight.
Although Stanford was swept earlier this season by the Huskies, the Cardinal are ranked in a tie for eighth in the USRowing Collegiate poll. Oregon State, which fell victim to UW at the Windermere Cup, is No. 19 in the country.
Scouting The Women's Field
California is the new No. 1 team in the nation and will be gunning for their fifth straight conference championship Sunday. Cal has steadily gained speed all season, and is coming off a sweep of Stanford to take the Lambert Cup. Overall, the Golden Bears have won seven of the last eight conference titles. No. 3 USC is another legitimate candidate for the Pac-12 crown, having won the San Diego Crew Classic V8 title earlier this season. UCLA (No. 7) and Washington State (No. 17) are also ranked in the CRCA/USRowing Top-20 poll.