April 27, 2013
|102nd Annual Washington-California Dual
April 27th | Montlake Cut - Seattle, Wash.
SEATTLE, Wash. - The Huskies had their toughest challenge of the season to date at the 102nd running of the Washington-California Dual on the Montlake Cut on Saturday morning.
In the midst of gusty winds and some rough water, Washington earned their second consecutive sweep and 7th Schoch Cup victory in a row. The wins, however, didn't come easy for the number one ranked team in the country. The Huskies had to overcome slow starts in the second varsity and varsity eight races, as Cal jumped out to early leads in both.
California's varsity eight put pressure on the Huskies, starting fast to take an early lead in the fight for the Schoch Cup. The Huskies first boat, coxed by senior Seamus Labrum, got uncharacteristically out of sync and fell behind by four seats at the 1000 meter mark, but stayed composed and recovered to make a push through the third 500 meters and across the finish line. Washington ended the race exactly five seconds ahead of the No. 2 Golden Bears, finishing with a time of 5:43.6.
Senior captain Alex Bunkers admits the start got him nervous, but he knew they would pull it together and get back in a rhythm.
"We didn't have our cleanest start and we got down a little bit," said Bunkers. "But we tried to stay really composed. That's one of the things we've been working on--our base speed through the middle--so we knew that we just needed to get there. The race is a full 2000 meter, not just at the start so we knew what we needed to do."
The second varsity eight race followed two races that had just been shortened to 1750 meters due to the wind that had picked up at the start line. While the 2V8's for the women had to race on the altered course, the wind died down just in time to run a full 2000 meters for the men's second varsity race. As they did in the varsity race, Cal had a fast start and took the early lead through the first 500 meters, but the Huskies dug in and moved their boats faster to draw even with the Bears as they entered the cut. Washington pulled ahead through the cut and maintained it's momentum through the finish line, crossing ahead of California with a time of 5:49.8.
The Huskies' depth was on display in their other two duals of the day, as the Men's Varsity Four and the Freshmen Eight both won their respective races handedly over the Bears. The Huskies' V4 finished more than ten seconds ahead of California, recording a time of 6:32.0. As winds picked up after the women's novice eight, the conditions at the start forced an altered course from 2000 meters down to 1750 meters for the men's freshmen eight. Despite the rough waters and shortened course, the freshmen eight continued their own undefeated streak, beating Cal and finishing with a time of 5:15.3.
Men's head coach Michael Callahan was proud of how his team handled the conditions and the adversity of getting down early in their last two races.
"The way we rowed was really impressive," said Callahan. "California really attacked us in the first quarter of the race and established leads. That scenario can really rattle you, but I thought they stayed composed and had a lot of faith in each other. You never want to get down in a race, so I thought it was really strong that they were able to come back."
Callahan was ecstatic about how the racing went for both the men and women, especially for the women's varsity eight, who earned their first victory over California in ten tries.
"I'm particularly proud of them, I know how hard they've been working," said Callahan. "It was great to see them come through. There was a moment there when they just hooked on and got through so it was really exciting."
The No. 1 Huskies return to action next week on the cut as they welcome Ivy League members Cornell and Darmouth to Seattle for the 27th Annual Windermere Cup. Races begin at 9:55 a.m.
Washington-California Dual Official Results
Men's V8 (Full Course, 2000m)
1) UW 5:43.6
2) Cal 5:48.6
Men's 2V8 (Full Course, 2000m)
1) UW 5:49.8
2) Cal 5:52.3
Men's V4 (Full Course)
1) UW 6:32.0
2) Cal 6:42.5
Men's Freshmen 8 (1750m)
1) UW 5:15.3
2) Cal 5:22.9