The Washington and Wisconsin men's varsity eights race Saturday for the W Cup trophy.
April 14, 2004
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THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, APRIL 17 --
W Cup, #2 Washington vs. #5 Wisconsin (men only), 10 a.m. PDT
Montlake Cut; Seattle, Wash.
A difficult three-week stretch begins Saturday, April 17 for the Washington men's rowing team. The second-ranked Huskies host the annual W Cup competition against No. 5 Wisconsin at 10 a.m. on the Montlake Cut. Next week (April 24) UW visits No. 3 California before entertaining the Italian National Team and No. 7 Navy in the Windermere Cup on May 1. "It's racing season. It helps us develop," 17th-year Husky men's head coach Bob Ernst said of the intense three-week stretch. "If you want to be the best you have to race the best and you have to race them often." Saturday features a single event, a match race between the men's varsity eight crews of Washington and Wisconsin.
The Montlake Course
The starting line for the Huskies' home regattas is on Lake Washington, parallel to the Evergreen Point floating bridge. The course runs from east to west through the Montlake Cut to the finish line near the mouth of Portage Bay at the west end of Montlake Cut. A good view of the race course is available along either side of the Montlake Cut, or from above on the Montlake Bridge.
Quest for the W Cup
The W Cup was initiated in 1993 to give the two schools another high-level race on the spring schedule. The Huskies and Badgers have competed every year since 1993 with the winner receiving the W Cup. The trophy features a "W" which is colored in both the purple of Washington and cardinal of Wisconsin. Washington won the first 10 races in the series before the Badgers captured the W Cup for the first time last season. The men's varsity eight matchup is the only race Saturday.
Saturday's race pits the nation's No. 2 and No. 5 teams. The fifth-ranked Badgers finished fourth nationally last season. Washington, which finished second at the 2003 IRAs, is currently ranked No. 2. The Wisconsin varsity eight posted a nine-second victory over Michigan last weekend in its season opener.
The Husky men were ranked second in the preseason poll behind defending national champion Harvard. They placed third at the San Diego Crew Classic in the April 4 season opener. UW's varsity eight won the 2003 Pac-10 title and placed second at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships before winning the Ladies Challenge Plate competition at the prestigious Royal Henley Regatta in England. Six rowers return from last year's varsity eight crew: senior Marko Petrovic (Belgrade, Serbia), junior Brett Newlin (Riverton, Wyo.), junior Giuseppe Lanzone (McLean, Va.), junior Kyle Larson (Mount Vernon, Wash./Mount Vernon HS), senior Sam Burns (Seattle, Wash./O'Dea HS) and senior Andy Derrick (Cincinnati, Ohio). A seventh rower, senior Ian Sawyer (Auckland, New Zealand), joined the crew for their Henley triumph.
Bob Ernst begins his 30th season on staff, his 17th as the men's head coach. Ernst seeks to direct the Huskies' varsity eight to their first national championship since 1997. Serving as the men's freshman coach for the sixth season is Fred Honebein captained the U.S. men's eight from 1993-96 and was the 1995 U.S. Rowing Athlete of the Year.
Last Year's W Cup Recap
The third-ranked Wisconsin men's varsity eight led for most of the race and held off a late challenge by No. 2 Washington to win by nearly a boat length April 19, 2003 on Lake Mendota and capture the W Cup for the first time in the 11-year history of the dual regatta. Wisconsin completed the course in 6-minutes, 9.1-seconds while the Huskies finished in 9:12.0. The Huskies were ahead by three seats after their opening 30-stroke surge and led for the first 400 meters. The Badgers drew even at the 400-meter mark and steadily pulled ahead to eventually possess an open-water lead with 800 meters remaining. Washington moved at 1,500 meters, closing the gap to six seats at 1,700 meters. The Badgers responded with a sprint over the final 200 meters to cap the race with their coxswain alongside the Huskies' bow at the finish line.
NEXT WEEK'S SCHEDULE
SATURDAY, APRIL 24 --
at Washington-California Dual Regatta (coed), 9:00 a.m. PDT
Redwood Shores; Belmont, Calif.