UW Men Sweep Varsity Races, Win Pac-10 Team Title
May 16, 2004
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. - Greg King admittedly panicked, but his teammates couldn't tell. And none of the Huskies gave up.
The junior coxswain displayed a calm exterior while directing the third-ranked Washington men's varsity eight crew through a dramatic come-from-behind victory over No. 4 California. The Huskies trailed the entire race, much of it by a full boat length, before overtaking Cal during the final strokes of the featured race at the Pacific-10 Conference Rowing Championships on Lake Natoma.
"I was pretty panicked for most of the race to be quite honest," King acknowledged. "But, I got my cool back in the last 500 and tried to take them to the win."
Washington was clocked in a speedy 5-minutes, 52.9 seconds to finish three seats ahead of the Golden Bears who finished in 5:54.0. Oregon State placed third in 6:03.7.
The Husky men won their second straight varsity eight conference championship race. Last year they upset Cal's top-ranked crew. This year, the Bears streaked out of the blocks and controlled the race for three-quarters of the 2,000-meter course.
"Cal had an unbelievable first 1,500 meters. They raced the first part like it was the last 1,500 meters of their life," said sophomore Brodie Buckland (Olympia, Wash. / Capital HS) who helped the Huskies' top boat to a perfect 5-0 record since moving into the stroke seat in late April.
"It's certainly not the kind of race we like to have, but it was a good gut check. I give a lot of credit to Greg (King). At any point in that race he could have panicked. He just kept us in it. He let us know where they were and let us do the work."
Sunday was a rubber match of sorts in the battle between the West Coast rowing rivals. Cal won this year's first meeting April 4 at the San Diego Crew Classic. UW evened the season series with an open-water victory April 24 in the Bay Area.
"The varsity really showed some outstanding character today because Cal threw down their best race and we didn't let them off the hook," exclaimed UW men's coach Bob Ernst
The two Pac-10 rivals meet again at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, June 3-5 in Camden, N.J. The Huskies' most recent varsity eight national championship came in 1997, the same season they capped their last run of consecutive Pac-10 titles. Other contenders for this year's national title are top-ranked and defending champion Harvard and No. 2 Princeton.
"I'm just all smiles right now. We're ready for the IRA Regatta," said UW senior Brett Newlin who also rowed in the No. 5 seat for last year's championship. "They had us on the ropes and we passed them in the final six or seven strokes. It feels amazing to walk through an awesome crew like Cal at the very end. But, then again we want to be a lot farther ahead than just beating them in the last few seconds."
The triumph by the top crew led a sweep of all three varsity men's titles for the Huskies were also victorious in the junior varsity eight and varsity four events. The trio of first-place finishes, along with a fourth-place effort by UW in the freshman eight event, gave the Huskies the overall men's team championship.
The Huskies amassed 66 points, one more than second-place California's score of 65. Oregon State had a third-place total of 48 points followed by Stanford (44), UCLA (32) and Washington State (24).
Washington placed second in the women's standings with 62 points. California scored 69 points to win the women's overall title and earn the West Region's automatic NCAA Championship berth. Washington State finished third with 50 points followed by USC (48), Oregon State (40), Stanford (35), UCLA (31) and Oregon (4).
The Huskies put themselves in solid position to receive one of seven at-large invitations when the field for the women's NCAA Rowing Championships is announced Tuesday. The national regatta is scheduled for May 28-30 at the same Lake Natoma venue that hosted the Pac-10s.
"I think our performance today put us in a pretty good place to get an at-large NCAA invitation. Certainly, it was our goal to have a good, clear second-place team finish rather than to be sitting third and really hoping," explained UW women's coach Eleanor McElvaine. "We're pretty confident. The kids raced pretty well today. We're very happy with the performance of our four."
The Washington women's four went wire-to-wire to post an impressive open-water victory. The Huskies crossed the finish line in 7:43.7 and runner-up Cal had a time of 7:51.3.
UW crews were runners-up in the women's varsity eight race and third among junior varsity competitors. California won both of those events. The top-ranked Bears' varsity eight clocked a time of 6:43.8 to beat the No. 9 Huskies by one length. UW finished with a time of 6:47.6 and USC was third in 6:50.4.
Cal's winning time in the junior varsity race was 6:48.4. Washington State was second in 6:50.1 followed by the Huskies in 6:54.5.
The Washington women's novice eight tasted defeat for the first time this season, finishing seven seats behind winner California. The Bears finished in 6:58.7 followed by the Huskies in 7:01.7 and Oregon State third in 7:03.0.
The UW newcomers had defeated Cal in their previous two meetings, but half the Husky crew changed as four rowers were promoted to varsity boats two weeks ago.
Washington's junior varsity men remained undefeated, winning for the sixth time this season. The Huskies overcame an early deficit to pass Cal at the 750-meter mark. They gained five more seats on the Bears with a strong move at 1,000 meters and continued to increase the lead before crossing the finish line in 6:04.7. Cal finished over two lengths back with a time of 6:12.2.
That win ended a six-year run of championships for the Bears whose last loss in a conference junior varsity race was to Washington in 1997.
The Huskies collected four of the eight trophies distributed at the Pac-10 regatta, including the men's varsity four award. UW gained an early open-water advantage en route to a near 12-second win over California. The Huskies finished in 6:45.8 followed by the Bears in 6:57.4.
California was the men's freshman eight winner with a nine-second victory over runner-up Stanford. The Bears' time was 6:01.8 followed by Stanford in 6:10.9 and Oregon State in third in 6:12.9. The Huskies posted a third-place time of 6:15.2 and Santa Clara was fifth in 6:24.4.
PAC-10 ROWING CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
Final Team Standings
Grand Final Race Results
Men's Varsity Eight
UW lineup: cox-Kelsey Florence, Adam Przebinda, Brett Carlson, David Holden, Andrew Lyle, Dave Aron, Aljosa Corovic, Jamie Buchan, Dustin Kraus.
UW lineup: cox-Stephanie Brog, Andrea Sooter, Ali Paulson, Cara Troelstra, Stephanie Martin, Andrea Smith, Karen Magnuson, Victoria Gibson, Erica Tom.