GOLD RIVER, Calif. – The reigning Pac-12 men’s rowing champions and the no.-1-ranked Washington Huskies have repeated for a fifth-straight year. The Huskies finished with a team total of 70 points that came from gold medal finishes for the novice 8+ (5:50.3), the varsity 4+ (6:26.1) and the varsity 8+ (5:36.1). Only the 2V8+ would not take home first place, finishing less than two seconds behind the leader to take home silver. Head coach Michael Callahan was excited to claim another conference title.
“I thought it was a really successful day, obviously. I was really excited to see the 4+ get a victory over Cal, who had beat them the last time out. The 2V8+ dropped a tough one, but we have a younger team this year and I think if we’ve shown it all year, we showed it today. The V8+ on the other hand really stepped it up today and it was really fun to have a last 500 meters like we did today,” Callahan said.
It was a gorgeous day on Lake Natoma where the conference championships are annually held. The winds held off for most of the morning making for beautiful water for the championship races.
The novice 8+s were first up on the schedule and turned out to be an excellent way to start off the momentum for the Huskies. The grunties took an early lead on the next closest crew, the Golden Bears from California. Only 500 meters into the race UW already had a nearly six-seat lead, and despite the Bears attempting to close the gap it would only increase from there.
By the time the race would reach the finish, the Huskies would have almost three seats of open water between their stern and Cal’s bow, completing the freshmen’s third undefeated season in a row heading into IRAs.
The V4+ would turn out to be a more challenging race for the Dawgs. Cal would lead nearly the entire race, if only by a few seats. It wasn’t until about the 250-meter mark that the UW crew would take control.
Over that last stretch, the Huskies made a tremendous push to take a commanding lead and eventually win by open water and three seconds ahead of Cal.
Up next was the second varsity race and it was again a fight all the way down between the top two teams in the country. The Bears would jump out right at the beginning to a lead of a two seats that they fought the whole way down the lake to keep. In the last 250, the Dawgs gave it everything they had but it wouldn’t quite be enough to over-take Cal.
In the end, despite a spectacular sprint from the Huskies, they finished in 5:48.1, 1.7 seconds behind the Bears.
In the last men’s race of the day, the varsity 8+, it was obvious that the second-ranked Cal bears were trying to exact revenge after being knocked out of the number one spot by Washington nearly a month ago.
Cal once again jumped out to an early, but not significant, lead that the Dawgs would eventually overcome coming down the stretch. Not only did the Huskies end up beating out Cal once again, they increased their margin of victory and ultimately won by half a length in 5:36.1.
“Pac-12s to me always seems really nerve-wrecking, especially if you won the duel. You don’t want to put your head away early to the IRA because you don’t want to lose the conference championship, either. It means a lot to us as well,” Callahan concluded.
Once all was said and done, the near perfect day for the Huskies would win them the men’s team title for the fifth year in a row with a point total of 70, 5 points in front of California who came in second. Oregon State rounded out the top-three finishers with a total of 60 points.
Pac-12 Networks will be taping the races to be shown delayed on Sat. May 24 at 9:30 a.m. and 10 p.m., Mon. May 26 at 12:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and Tue. May 27 at 6 p.m. (all times PT).
Up next for Washington will be the IRA National Championships at Lake Mercer, N.J. starting on May 30 and running through June 1.
1. WASHINGTON, 5:50.3
2. California, 5:53.7
3. Oregon State, 6:06.6
4. Stanford, 6:08.1
5. Colorado, 6:54.7
1. WASHINGTON, 6:26.1
2. California, 6:29.3
3. Oregon State, 6:55.6
4. Washington State, 7:09.3
5. Stanford, 7:25.5
SECOND VARSITY 8+
1. California, 5:46.4
2. WASHINGTON, 5:48.1
3. Oregon State, 6:06.9
4. Stanford, 6:07.4
1. WASHINGTON, 5:36.1
2. California, 5:37.3
3. Stanford, 5:53.8
4. Oregon State, 5:56.7
5. Washington State, 6:10.6
6. Colorado, 6:53.8