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Huskies Win Four Heats, Advance All Boats To IRA Semifinals
Release: 06/02/2011
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June 2, 2011

IRA Championships Release Get Acrobat Reader | Watch the IRA Championships | Thursday IRA Results

The Husky Open 4+ advanced directly to the Grand Final on Thursday so they will not race today. The semifinals at IRAs are often considered the best day for rowing all year. Twelve boats in two heats battling for just six spots in the Grand Finals. The top three from each heat advance. The rest head to the Petite Finals, with no chance to medal. In the varsity eight heat, Washington races against powerhouse crews such as Wisconsin and Harvard. The Crimson are undefeated this season, as are the Huskies. One crew will be losing their first race today.

Varsity Four
Lane 1
Lane 2
Lane 3
Lane 4
Lane 5
Lane 6
Semi 1 - 7:00 a.m (PST) Georgetown Syracuse Wisconsin Washington Drexel Temple
Freshmen Eight
Lane 1
Lane 2
Lane 3
Lane 4
Lane 5
Lane 6
Semi 1 - 8:15 a.m. (PST) Stanford Cornell Harvard
Washington
Boston
Dartmouth
Second Varsity Eight
Lane 1
Lane 2
Lane 3
Lane 4
Lane 5
Lane 6
Semi 1 - 8:45 a.m. (PST) BU Syracuse Washington
California Cornell
Navy
Varsity Eight
Lane 1
Lane 2
Lane 3
Lane 4
Lane 5
Lane 6
Heat 2 - 9:30 a.m. (PST) Yale Wisconsin Harvard
Washington Stanford
Georgetown

CHERRY HILL, N.J. - The mission statement for the first day of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships is similar what college basketball teams want to accomplish in late March - survive and advance. So despite blustery tailwinds and whitecaps capsizing even the best race strategies, the Huskies were still able to manage their primary objectives.

No style points were needed as the Washington men's crew program advanced all five boats to the semifinals at the 109th IRAs on Thursday morning. The Huskies picked up four wins in the process, the most of any Division I crew competing on the Cooper River. Winning their heats were the varsity eight, second varsity eight, open four and the varsity four. The freshmen eight finished second to Princeton in their heat, but still advanced to the semis.

The message men's coach Michael Callahan had afterward stressed the importance of his crews handling the outside distractions. Washington wasn't the only crew affected either. Another example: Yale's second varsity race finished last after having its rudder destroyed on a submerged log. There were complications off the water as well. The night before, a midnight fire alarm distracted scores of rowers staying at the nearby Crown Plaza hotel.

"I thought there was a lot of hocus pocus out there," Callahan said. "I thought the variables we had for the wind out there were all over the place. We had readings up to 15 mph. And it was blowing all over the place."

After a three-week break from racing after the Pac-10 Championships, the Huskies were eager to test their speed on the 2,000-meter course in Cherry Hill. Another task was to size up the competition, especially against the touted East Coast crews the Huskies haven't faced this season.

The Huskies began the morning with the varsity eight heat, which they won by five seats over No.2 Brown in a time of 5:32.25. Given that both crews were well ahead of the field (and the top two advanced), the Huskies and the Bears were content to finish 1-2. At the start, though, it became evident the biting tailwinds would be a factor. Those types of conditions also tend to neutralize powerful crews like the Huskies, which showed in the fast times for all crews across the result sheets.

"We had the race under control the entire time," said varsity 7-seat Alex Bunkers. "We never had a huge margin, but it was under control the entire race and dictated the speed."

This was the theme in the remaining varsity heats, as the higher-seeded crews advanced but not in dominating fashion.

In the second varsity eight heats, the Huskies were never threatened as they cruised to victory, topping Brown by a little over two seconds (5:44.20 to 5:46.338). This was the most comfortable of the eights' races for the Dawgs, who moved out to a length's lead at the halfway point and controlled the race from there.

Princeton took home victory in the Huskies' freshmen eight heats, seizing control of the race after Washington had established a six-seat lead at the 500m mark. Once it became apparent that both crews would advance to the semifinals, the Huskies saw no need to sprint at the finish, allowing the Tigers to cross almost five seconds ahead of UW's 5:41.14.

Washington had no troubles in both of the four categories. The varsity four battled some of the worst water/wind conditions of the afternoon, making for a sloppy conclusion to the morning heats. Yet the Huskies prevailed over by more than five seconds over Holy Cross, finishing with a time of 6:17.28.

There was more at stake in the open four classifications since only the top boat advanced automatically to the Grand Final. Washington shrugged off its slow start, overtaking a tiring Wisconsin boat at the 750m mark and establishing control. The Badgers tried to sprint back into the race in the final 500 meters, but the Huskies were deftly able to counter those moves.

"We got into qualifying positions and we're in a good spot for the semifinals," Callahan said. "So in a sense, we got what we wanted."

Note: GoHuskies.com will have the full schedule for the IRA semifinals after the reps are complete on the Cooper River.

Varsity Eight - Heat 1: Washington 5:32.251, Brown 5:33.726, Cornell 5:40.738, Stanford 5:42.949, Syracuse 5:47.233, Gonzaga 6:06.276

Second Varsity Eight - Heat 1: Washington 5:44.202, Brown 5:46.338, BU 5:46.506, Princeton 5:47.083, Pennsylvania 6:00.619

Freshmen Eight - Heat 1: Princeton 5:36.457, Washington 5:41.142, Wisconsin 5:58.227, Gonzaga 6:00.438, Pennsylvania 6:03.343, Yale 6:57.841

Varsity Four - Heat 2: Washington 6:17.282, Holy Cross 6:22.676, Temple 6:31.998, Stanford 6:44.042, Dartmouth 7:10.372

Open Four - Heat 1: Washington 6:19.227, Wisconsin 6:21.777, Navy 6:33.910, California 6:39.398, Pennsylvania 6:44.627

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