April 3, 2013
|Washington at San Diego Crew Classic
April 6-7 | Mission Bay
SEATTLE - Now that the intrasquad races and fun festivities of Class Day are over, the time has come for the Huskies to be put to the real test. The No. 5 ranked Huskies will face an elite field at the San Diego Crew Classic, which takes place April 6th & 7th on Mission Bay.
The Huskies will take on No. 1 ranked Virginia, the defending national champions who for the second-consecutive year are the pre-season favorites. Virginia dominated the 2012 NCAA National Championships, winning the varsity eight over Michigan by open water.
The Classic will also be a chance for the Huskies to measure up against their Pac-12 competition. Ranked in the top 5 with Washington is No. 2 California and No. 4 USC. Fellow Pac-12 members UCLA and Stanford, are ranked 8th and 9th respectively, so there is no shortage of strong competition in the conference this year. Washington State, tied for 18th in the country, will also be racing at the Crew Classic this weekend. The Huskies are looking to get their first Jessop-Whittier Cup win since the 2008 season.
For head coach and rowing director Bob Ernst, racing well this weekend will be key for setting the tone for the season.
"It will be really important for us to go to San Diego and do a good job because it will be our only chance this season to race a lot of our Pac-12 competition before the Championship in May," said Ernst.
After solid racing at the Class Day Regatta, Ernst is confident that the Huskies are not only ready for their test in San Diego but are ready to attack the season.
"I think these kids are up to the challenge," Ernst said. "We're stronger than we were last year. Last year the goal was to get the varsity boat into the finals at the NCAAs, and I would like to say that this crew has higher expectations."
Washington will again race four boats, including their varsity, junior varsity, four, and freshmen "A" shell, to help pad their points, which are used for seeding in the Pac-12 Championships.
The Crew Classic is one of the top regattas in the world, featuring upwards of 4,000 athletes. Last year, the Huskies showcased their program's depth, with all four boats reaching the Grand Finals in all four categories.
Ernst is looking forward to seeing what this squad can do against outside competition.
"I'm just really excited to see them race," said Ernst.
NOTES: The Washington women will race three boats at the Husky Open on Saturday, April 6th on the Montlake Cut. The action begins at 8 a.m. The Huskies will be facing University of Portland, Western Washington, and Seattle University.