March 24, 2012
SEATTLE - The "William Peter Allen" boat sang so well on the water, it was almost as if the Class of 2013 juniors had an extra rower bending an oar.
That was the team consensus after a wire-to-wire victory for the juniors, the first crew to use the newly dedicated shell in action. The Huskies honored the boat with a Friday afternoon memorial to Peter Allen, a Husky rower who died last September in a hiking accident on Snoqualmie Falls.
Allen would have graduated in 2013, and it was clear his teammates were racing for more than just the George M. Varnell Varsity Challenge Cup.
Washington's juniors finished in a searing time of 5:35.79, crossing the 2,000-meter point almost three seconds faster than the second-place Grunties. The seniors were closely behind in third place while the sophomores were the last boat across at 5:48.18.
"We were really able to hammer it home," said junior coxswain Seamus Labrum. "We felt there was a spirit with this boat today."
Class Day is the traditional start of the spring racing season at Washington. It's an event rich with pageantry, with rowers competing against one another by class. There's always plenty of good-natured trash talk, particularly among the upperclassmen. The boats even come up with creative shirts, although the seniors decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm Seattle weather and paint their slogan on bare chests.
This was the first Class Day victory for the 2013 rowers, and it prevented the seniors from ending their careers with three Class Day victories. But in order to win the juniors had to hold off a fast freshmen boat, which pushed them until the 1,000-meter mark.
"It was a great first effort for those guys," said freshmen coach Luke McGee. "It's been a great week of training and they've had a good approach to the season so far." Leading by just two seats, Labrum made what he termed the "Peter Allen" call, letting his teammates know their fallen friend was there in spirit. That's when the junior boat surged ahead, winning by open water.
"It just felt like we had 10 in the boat today," Labrum said. "That's how well we rowed."
In the earlier men's race, the Grunties pulled ahead of a "classless" boat to win with a time of 5:52.99, almost seven full seconds faster than their closest competition.
Washington returns to the Montlake Cut next weekend to host Ivy League power Brown. The Bears will bring five boats to Seattle, making for an appetizing intersectional matchup between two powerhouse crews, which begins on Saturday, March 31, at 8 a.m.
Race 2 - Men's Varsity/Freshman Challenge
1) Grunties (5:52.99): coxswain - Parker Ksidakis (Sacramento, Calif.), stroke - Edward Naiby-Luxmoore (Middleton, United Kingdom), Austin Bolves (North Bend, Wash.), 6 - Nicholas Cypro (Spokane, Wash.), 5 - Joseph Mallen (Concord, Mass.), 4 - Andrew McCrea (Lake Stevens, Wash.), 3 - Zachary Hershberger (Los Gatos, Calif.), 2 - Philip Lindstedt (Kirkland, Wash.), bow - Bennett Murch (Issaquah, Wash.)
2) Classless (5:59.75)
3) Grunties "B" (6:06.83)
Race 4 - George M. Varnell Varsity Challenge Cup
1) Juniors (5:35.79): coxswain - Seamus Labrum (Cape May, N.J.), stroke - Dusan Milovanovic (Novi Sad, Serbia), 7 - Alex Bunkers (Maitland, Fla.), 6 - Ryan Schroeder (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 5 - Mijo Rudelj (Kastel Ctafilic, Croatia), 4 - Max Mannisto (Belmont, Calif.), 3 - Sam Dommer (Folsom, Calif.), 2 - A.J. Brooks (Costa Mesa, Calif.), bow - Brandon Taft (Fircrest, Wash.)
2) Grunties (5:38.06)
3) Seniors (5:45.33)
4) Sophomores (5:48.18)