UW Men Vie for National Rowing Titles
May 31, 2005
THURSDAY-SATURDAY, JUNE 2-4
UW at Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships
Cooper River / Cherry Hill, N.J.
The Washington men's rowing team makes its annual journey to Cherry Hill, N.J. for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships. The 103rd-annual IRA regatta is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, June 2-4 on the Cooper River. Four crews will represent the Huskies who have entries in the varsity eights, junior varsity eights, freshman eights and open fours. Washington's junior varsity eight and varsity four won their respective championships last year while the varsity eight collected the silver medal at the 2004 IRA regatta. The defending champion Harvard varsity eight is ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll. California is ranked No. 2 followed by No. 3 Princeton, No. 4 Washington and No. 5 Northeastern. UW is aiming for its 12th IRA varsity eight title. The Huskies' most recent varsity eight championship came in 1997. Husky crews won Pac-10 titles on May 15 in the junior varsity eight and varsity four events.
IRA Racing Format
Competition at the IRA Regatta consists of heats, repechage (second chance races), semifinals and finals. The repechage race assures that the three fastest crews advance to the semifinal round. The top two finishers in each of the four, first-day heats advance to the semifinal round while the remaining crews are reassigned to repechage races. The repechage winners also advance to the semifinals, rounding out the 12-crew field. The top three crews in each semifinal advance into the six-boat grand final field.
The IRA Field
The top 12 entries in the main eights races are seeded. The seeds for the featured event, the varsity eight, are: Harvard (1), California (2), Princeton (3), Washington (4), Northeastern (5), Stanford (6), Boston University (7), Brown (8), Oregon State (9), Navy (10), Yale (11) and Dartmouth (12). The Huskies are the top seed among junior varsity eight followed by California (2), Cornell (3), Princeton (4), Yale (5), Northeastern (6), Harvard (7), Wisconsin (8), Boston University (10), Oregon State (11) and Penn (12). Undefeated California is the No. 1 seed in the freshman eights and the Huskies are No. 7.
The Washington Men's Entries
> Varsity Eight -- No. 4 seed ... Pac-10 runner-up ... Ranked No. 4 nationally in the coaches poll ... Silver medalist in 2003 & 2004 ... Won 6 of 8 races with only losses coming vs. California ... Huskies seek 12th IRA national title, first since 1997.
> Junior Varsity Eight -- No. 1 seed ... Pac-10 champs... Undefeated in eight races ... Won 2004 IRA title ... Won 18 straight races, last losing in 2003 IRA grand final.
> Freshman Eight -- No. 7 seed ... Pac-10 runner-up ... Only losses came against Cal ... Won back-to-back IRA titles in 2001 and 2002 ... Finished 14th at 2004 IRA regatta.
> Open Four -- Two-time Pac-10 champion ... UW won last two IRA titles in the varsity four event... Crew includes one freshman, two sophomores and two juniors.
The Men's Trophies
The varsity eight competes for the Varsity Challenge Cup, the silver cup first presented in 1898. Washington has won the Cup 11 times, dating back to 1923, and most recently in 1997. The junior varsity (second varsity) competes for the Kennedy Challenge Cup, originally presented in 1899. The Huskies claimed the cup in 2004 for the first time since 1997. The freshman men race for the Steward's Cup, first awarded in 1900. Washington won the freshman eight championship during back-to-back years in 2001 and 2002. UW also captured the Steward's Cup in 1997, completing a sweep of the three premier eights race that season. Prior to the sweep in 1997, the Huskies last swept all three featured races back in 1950.
Quoting Coach Bob Ernst
'We've been doing a lot of high intensity stuff and we are trying to get as ready as we can. I think that Princeton and Harvard are going to be really good. Of course there is Cal as well, and we just want to be in a fight with those three teams.'
2005 IRA CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
(all times Pacific)
Thursday's IRA Men's Schedule, June 2
4:36 a.m. -- Varsity Eights (heats)
5:24 a.m. -- Junior Varsity Eights (heats)
6:12 a.m. -- Freshman Eights (heats)
8:48 a.m. -- Open Fours (heats)
12:48 p.m. -- Freshman Eights (repechage)
1:36 p.m. -- Junior Varsity Eights (repechage)
2:00 p.m. -- Varsity Eights (repechage)
Friday's IRA Men's Schedule, June 3
5:00 a.m. -- Open Fours (repechage)
8:12 a.m. -- Varsity Eights (semifinals)
9:00 a.m. -- Junior Varsity Eights (semifinals)
9:48 a.m. -- Freshman Eights (semifinals)
Saturday's IRA Men's Schedule, June 4
7:14 a.m. -- Open Fours (championship)
9:27 a.m. -- Freshman Eights (championship)
9:54 a.m. -- Junior Varsity Eights (championship)
10:21 a.m. -- Varsity Eights (championship)
The Washington men won at least one event title at each of the last four IRA Championship regattas. Husky crews won the junior varsity eight and varsity four events in 2004, the varsity four in 2003, the freshman eight and open four titles in 2002 and the freshman eight and varsity pair championships in 2001.
The Husky men won 11 IRA varsity eight titles, last winning the championship in 1997.
The fourth-ranked Washington varsity eight defeated five crews ranked in the top 20 of the current coaches poll, including No. 6 Stanford, No. 10 Oregon State, No. 12 Dartmouth, No. 13 Cornell and No. 14 Michigan.
UW's defending national champion men's junior varsity eight crew is undefeated the last two years, 8-0 this year and 10-0 in 2004. Their last loss was in the 2003 IRA grand final race.
IRA Regatta History
The Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta is the oldest collegiate rowing championship in the country, and remains the premier event for national rowing honors for college men. The first IRA Regatta, on June 24, 1895, was a four-miler between Columbia, the winner, Cornell and Pennsylvania. In 1923, Washington, coached by Rusty Callow, became the first Western school to win the IRA, followed by another victory in 1926. When Callow left Seattle to coach at Pennsylvania, he was succeeded by his assistant Al Ulbrickson, who continued the Huskies' winning ways with six IRA titles in 1936, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1948 and 1950. His freshman, jayvee and varsity crews 'swept the river' in 1936, 1937, 1948 and 1950. Current Huskies head coach Bob Ernst led his Washington team to a modern-day sweep in 1997, when UW crews won all three races on the Cooper River, site of the 2005 Championships.
On the Road Again
It's difficult to imagine a head coach leaving his team one week before a national championship competition, but that's exactly what Washington men's rowing coach Bob Ernst does every year. Ernst departed Tuesday morning (May 24) to transport the Huskies' racing shells to the championship venue. He and manager Gints Salaks drove a truck that pulled the trailer hauling the UW shells on the nearly 3,000-mile drive from Seattle to New Jersey. The men's crew re-joined Ernst at Princeton, Saturday (May 28) for three days of training before traveling to the competition venue in Camden, N.J. Freshman coach Michael Callahan and intern Bryan Volpenhein, both members of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Rowing Team, directed the varsity boats during Ernst's absence.
Shuffling the Deck
Husky men's coach Bob Ernst tinkered with his lineup all season, trying to glean the best unit from a deep roster. The result is that 13 different athletes have competed in the varsity eight crew in five regattas this season. Only five rowers have competed in the top boat for every race; Ante Kusurin, Giuseppe Lanzone, Kyle Larson, Brett Newlin and Dusan Nikolic. Even the coxswain spot was up for grabs as senior Stephen Hertzfeld (Bethesda, Md.) replaced Greg King (Manassas, Va.) prior to the May 7 Windermere Cup race. Two rowers made their varsity eight debuts in that race, juniors Kiel Petersen (Poulsbo, Wash.) in the stroke position and Colin Phillips (Coronado, Calif.) in the No. 5 seat. The current boating has competed in the last two regattas, three races overall. The competition for seats in the top crew has created a dynamic junior varsity eight that is undefeated in eight races this season.
About the UW Men
The Husky men remained No. 4 in last week's final national rankings. They won six of eight races, both losses coming against No. 2 California. UW's varsity eight won the 2003 and 2004 Pac-10 championships and placed second at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships both years. Despite the fact that six athletes return from last year's silver-medal varsity eight crew, only two of them are expected to compete in UW's top boat at the 2005 IRA Championships. Seniors Giuseppe Lanzone (McLean, Va.) and Brett Newlin (Riverton, Wyo.) are the only two carryovers from last year's top Husky boat. Also returning from that crew, but competing in the junior varsity crew are senior coxswain Greg King (Manassas, Va.) along with senior rowers Scott Gault (Piedmont, Calif.), Martin Rogulja (Zagreb, Croatia) and junior Scott Schmidt (Grosse Ile, Mich.). Also returning are four members of the 2004 national champion varsity four, including senior Evan Galloway (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge HS) who has collected three gold medals at the IRA regattas. Three members of the Huskies' IRA champion junior varsity eight return: seniors Dusan Nikolic (Belgrade, Serbia), Kyle Larson (Mount Vernon, Wash./Mt. Vernon HS) and Matt Kopicky (Seattle, Wash./Ballard HS). Larson and Nikolic are now rowing with the varsity eights. Another high profile returnee is junior Ante Kusurin (Zagreb, Croatia) who stroked UW's silver medal varsity in 2003 before training all last year with the Croatian National Team.
The Men's Staff
Bob Ernst is in his 31st season on staff, his 18th as the men's head coach. Ernst was voted the Pac-10 Coach of the Year nine times. Serving as the men's freshman coach for the first season is Michael Callahan, a former Husky rower (1993-96) who was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team. Two other Olympians help the staff, freshman intern Matt Deakin and varsity intern Bryan Volpenhein. They each collected a gold medal with the men's eight at the 2004 Olympics.
Every crew he has rowed in has turned to gold. Senior Evan Galloway, a product of Bainbridge Island (Wash.) High School, is vying for his fourth IRA gold medal. He rows in the bow seat of Washington's top-seeded and undefeated junior varsity eight crew. Last spring, Galloway received his third gold medal in as many appearances at the IRA regatta. He rowed in the bow of the championship varsity four boat, the same position he occupied in the 2003 varsity four winner. He was a member of UW's open four champion in 2002. A neurobiology major, Galloway is an outstanding student. He had the team's top grade point average in each of the last two years.
Shellhouse Grand Opening
The 2005 season was highlighted by the grand re-opening of the University of Washington's Conibear Shellhouse, which underwent a complete renovation. Located on the shores of Lake Washington, the shellhouse has served as the home for Husky Crew since it was originally constructed in 1949. The facility also houses UW's academic services and features an expanded dining facility with spectacular views of the water. Every area in the building was remodeled and updated, increasing space by 75 percent to 47,250 square feet. Nearly 20,000 square feet are dedicated to the rowing program with new team ergometer training rooms, locker rooms, improved offices and an additional shell storage bay. The architectural design features open, roomy spaces, with high glassed walls, natural lighting, and a larger balcony facing Lake Washington.
2004 IRA Recap
Washington's junior varsity eight and varsity four crews won national championships while the varsity eight collected the silver medal June 5 during the final day of the IRA men's national championships on the Cooper River. The two championships and runner-up result by the varsity marked the highest combined finishes by the Huskies' fleet of crews since 1997 when they swept top IRA honors in those three events. The two victorious boats continued a streak that has seen at least one Washington men's crew win a national title during each of the last four years. Top-ranked Harvard remained undefeated in varsity eight competition to win the national title. The order of finish was exactly the same as 2003 with the Crimson over one boat length ahead of UW which crossed the line five seats before California. The Golden Bears burst out to an early lead, but were overtaken by Harvard after 600 meters. The Crimson led Cal by two seats and UW by five at the midway point before taking their decisive move. The Huskies sprinted past Cal with 700 meters to go and closed the open-water gap on Harvard. The Huskies captured their first national title in junior varsity competition since 1997. They capped an undefeated season with their 10th victory. The Huskies claimed the lead 500 meters into the race and held off a Harvard surge to win by six seats. The Huskies struck gold in the varsity four event for the second straight season. UW recorded an open-water advantage over George Washington. The freshman eight was second in the third final, placing 14th overall. The duo of Alan Oriard and Kevin Bacha were second in the pairs petite final.
Eighteen Washington athletes have prior IRA Championships experience, including all but two members of the varsity eight. The varsity eight boat is comprised of five rowers who earned gold medals are previous IRA regattas. The only varsity eight members without IRA experience are senior coxswain Stephen Hertzfeld and junior stroke Kiel Petersen. All but two members of the Huskies' junior varsity eight have medaled at previous IRA regattas, including five who won gold. Obviously, the entire UW freshman eight crew has no previous IRA experience while the open four entry has one freshman and one other newcomer.
WASHINGTON LINEUPS FOR 2005 IRA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Men's Varsity Eight
cox - Stephen Hertzfeld (Sr. / Bethesda, Md.)
stroke - Kiel Petersen (Jr. / Poulsbo, Wash.)
7 - Dusan Nikolic (Sr. / Belgrade, Serbia)
6 - Aljosa Corovic (So. / Zemun, Serbia)
5 - Colin Phillips (Jr. / Coronado, Calif.)
4 - Brett Newlin (Sr. / Riverton, Wyo.)
3 - Giuseppe Lanzone (Sr. / McLean, Va.)
2 - Kyle Larson (Sr. / Mount Vernon, Wash.)
bow - Ante Kusurin (Jr. / Zagreb, Croatia)
Men's Junior Varsity Eight
cox - Greg King (Sr. / Manassas Va.)
stroke - Scott Gault (Sr. / Piedmont, Calif.)
7 - Scott Schmidt (Sr. / Grosse Ile, Mich.)
6 - Cooper Lange (So. / Seattle, Wash.)
5 - Martin Rogulja (Sr. / Zagreb, Croatia)
4 - Jacob Pettit (Sr. / Snohomish, Wash.)
3 - Matt Kopicky (Sr. / Seattle, Wash.)
2 - Tyler Smith (Jr. / Issaquah, Wash.)
bow - Evan Galloway (Sr. / Bainbridge Island, Wash.)
Men's Freshman Eight
cox - Dean Pearson (Fr. / Kentfield, Calif.)
stroke - Rob Gibson (Fr. / Glenburnie, Ontario)
7 - Andrew Beaton (Fr. / Spokane, Wash.)
6 - Steve Full (Fr. / Cumberland, Me.)
5 - Christopher Aylard (Fr. / Sidney, B.C.)
4 - Thomas McCrea (Fr. / Larkspur, Calif.)
3 - Drew Fowler (Fr. / Kent, Wash.)
2 - Derek DeVries (Fr. / Granger, Wash.)
bow - Toby Dankbaar (Fr. / Sydney, NSW)
Men's Varsity Four
cox - Mary Katherine Langlais (So. / Torrance, Calif.)
stroke - Craig Tyler (Jr. / Camas, Wash.)
3 - Adam Van Winkle (Jr. / Mukilteo, Wash.)
2 - Luke Carney (Fr. / Seattle, Wash.)
bow - Dustin Kraus (So. / Sacramento, Calif.)
Head Coach - Bob Ernst (UC Irvine '67, Washington '79)
18th year, 31st overall
Men's Freshman Coach - Michael Callahan (Washington '96)