UW Rowers Vie for Pac-10 Championships
May 10, 2006
SUNDAY, MAY 14 --
Washington Crew at Pac-10 Rowing Championships
8:00 a.m. / Lake Natoma / Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Eight Washington crews travel to Sacramento, Calif. this weekend for the annual Pacific-10 Conference Rowing Championships. The 2,000-meter races will be contested, Sunday, May 14 on Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova. The women's second varsity eight is the lone UW boat to enter the conference regatta as the No. 1 seed in its respective race. The Husky men's varsity eight, the 2003 and 2004 Pac-10 champion, is seeded third behind 2005 titlist California and Stanford. The Golden Bears' top men's boat is ranked No. 2 nationally, Stanford is No. 3 and UW is No. 7. The UW women's varsity eight is seeded fourth behind two-time defending champion California, USC and Washington State. The Huskies last won the women's featured race in 2002, capping a streak of 11 consecutive Pac-10 titles. The Huskies placed second in both the men's and women's team standings last year.
Five UW crews will race twice Sunday with heat races scheduled to start at 8 a.m. The top three finishers in each race advance to the grand finals that begin at 2 p.m. No heats are scheduled for the men's second varsity eight, freshman eight and varsity four events. Champions will be crowned in each of the eight events, all of which were seeded for heat draws. Overall men's and women's team champions will be declared, determined by a point system combining orders of finish in the four events for each gender.
Three Washington crews seek to successfully defend the Pac-10 championships they captured last year. Husky crews won the men's second varsity eight and varsity four titles, along with the women's novice eight event at the 2005 Pac-10 regatta.
Second-ranked California leads a group of six Pac-10 women's varsity eight crews ranked in the current Top 20 (May 10). Also ranked are No. 3 USC, No. 8 Washington State, No. 11 Washington, No. 12 UCLA and No. 16 Stanford. The men's field has four varsity eight entries ranked in the top 10, including No. 2 California, No. 3 Stanford, No. 7 Washington and No. 18 Oregon State.
The Washington Entries
> Men's Varsity Eight -- No. 3 seed ... Ranked No. 7 nationally ... Won the 2003 and 2004 Pac-10 titles ... Finished within five seats of the Russian National Team, May 6.
> Men's Second Varsity Eight -- No. 2 seed ... Won last two Pac-10 titles, stopping California's run of six straight Pac-10 titles ... 2004 & 2005 IRA national champion.
> Men's Varsity Four -- No. 2 seed ... Won last two years, halting Cal's three-year run as Pac-10 titlist ... Captured three straight IRA national championships in fours.
> Men's Novice Eight -- No. 2 seed ... Won back-to-back Pac-10 championships in 2001-2002 before Cal won the last three ... Lost earlier this season to the Bears.
> Women's Varsity Eight -- No. 4 seed ... Ranked No. 11 ... Huskies won 11 straight Pac-10 titles from 1992-2002 ... Placed 12th at 2005 NCAA championships.
> Women's Second Varsity Eight -- No. 1 seed ... Undefeated in six races ... Won six straight Pac-10 titles from 1997-2002 before Cal won the last three years.
> Women's Varsity Four -- No. 3 seed ... 2005 NCAA bronze medalist ... Pac-10 runner-up last season behind USC ... Won four of the last seven Pac-10 titles.
> Women's Novice Eight -- No. 3 seed ... Defending Pac-10 champion ... Won six straight conference titles between 1995-2000.
The Washington varsity eights tuned up for the conference regatta by facing their toughest competition of the season, May 6 at the Windermere Cup in Seattle. The Husky men lost by five seats to the exact same Russian crew that placed sixth at the 2005 world championships in Gifu, Japan. The UW women were seven seconds back of the national team that featured five members from Russia's world championship regatta crew.
The Huskies captured at least one men's title at every Pac-10/Pacific Coast regatta since 1988.
The Washington women won at least one championship at 28 of 29 Pac-10/Pacific Coast events, all but 2003.
UW's only top-seeded Pac-10 crew is the women's second varsity eight that is undefeated in six races, posting an average victory margin of 12 seconds. UW's closest race was a 4.6-second, open-water victory over Washington State on April 8 in Seattle.
Women's Second Varsity Eight Lineup
cox- Alysha Koorji, stroke- Liz Simenstad, 7- Andrea Sooter, 6- Charlene Franklin, 5- Asiha Grigsby, 4- Corianne Bowman, 3- Karen Magnuson, 2- Cara Troelstra, bow- Ivayla Dermendjieva.
Women's Novice Eight Lineup
cox- Sofia Benson-Goldberg, stroke- Ashley Brown, 7- Kim Kennedy, 6- Carole Baumgartner, 5- Stacey Pereira, 4- Lia Prins, 3- Courtney White, 2- Maria Hoisington, bow- Laura Cooper.
Quoting the Washington Coaches on the Pac-10 Championships
Men's Coach Bob Ernst-'There should be great racing this weekend. There are going to be at least three crews there that think they can win that varsity eight race. It's a good shootout. It's been the first time in a long time that three teams have a chance. We had a good race Saturday against the Russians, but we're going to see two more good crews this weekend. It's all about seeing how much we can develop and how much speed we can gain between now and when we go out to the IRA. We've had a great season this year with two weeks between all of our regattas except this break now. Personally, I don't think racing on consecutive weekends makes any difference at all. These guys are going to be as good as they're going to be next weekend and it will be good.'
Women's Coach Eleanor McElvaine-'It's going to be the tightest competition we've ever seen for the Pac-10 championships. In the past there has always been two or three schools that were duking it out. This year it's more like five. It makes the price higher because now on the women's side you have to qualify to get invited to the national championships. There are five different regions and 12 invitations. We don't really know how many schools are going to get invited from the Pac-10. You would certainly want to finish in positions one or two rather than three or four. Our strength is in our depth. Our second varsity and four are really going to help us with a team bid. The varsity eight is going to go out and do the best that they absolutely can, but I just know that some of these other varsity eights are loaded. '
About the UW Men
The Husky men are ranked No. 7 in the national poll (May 10). UW is coming off a five-seat loss to the full Russian National Team, May 6 in Seattle. The varsity eight has wins over current No. 9 Northeastern, No. 17 Penn and No. 18 Oregon State to its credit and lost races to No. 2 California and No. 3 Stanford. UW's varsity eight was the 2005 Pac-10 runner-up and placed fourth at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships. Four rowers return last year's IRA varsity eight crew: seniors Ante Kusurin (Zagreb, Croatia), Kiel Petersen (Poulsbo, Wash.), Colin Phillips (Coronado, Calif.) and junior Aljosa Corovic (Belgrade, Serbia). Also returning are two rowers from the 2005 national champion second varsity eight and four members of the Huskies' national champion open four crew. Two members of last year's freshman eight that earned the bronze medal at the 2005 IRA regatta are currently rowing in the varsity eight.
About the UW Women
The Washington women's varsity eight is ranked 11th in the current coaches poll (May 10). UW defeated current No. 17 Boston University, No. 19 Central Florida and Syracuse and lost to No. 2 California and No. 4 Ohio State. The Huskies placed ninth in the team competition at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Four rowers return from UW's varsity eight crew that placed 12th at the NCAA regatta: seniors Marah Connole (Helena, Mt.), Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) and Allison DePalma (San Jose, Calif.) along with junior Courtney Plitt (Mill Creek, Wash./Jackson HS). Also returning are six members of the second varsity eight that won the 2005 NCAA petite final. Senior Erin Lee (Kenmore, Wash./Inglemoor HS) is the lone returning rower from UW's silver medal varsity four crew. An infusion of talent joins the varsity in the form of a cadre of sophomores who led the novice eight to the 2005 Pac-10 championship.
The Men's Staff
Bob Ernst is in his 32nd season on staff, his 19th 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 second season is Michael Callahan, a former Husky rower (1993-96) who was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team.
The Women's Staff
Eleanor McElvaine is in her third year as the women's head coach after serving 13 seasons as an assistant coach. The entire women's staff returns, including third-year assistants Sean Mulligan, who is the assistant varsity coach, and Erica Schwab, the novice women's coach. All staff members are former UW crew competitors, including varsity intern Mary Whipple and novice intern Ilia Ash. Whipple was the coxswain for the silver-medal winning U.S. women's eight at the 2004 Olympics.
Upcoming Rowing Schedule
May 26-28 - NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, Mercer Lake; West Windsor, N.J.
June 1-3 - IRA Men's Rowing Championships, Cooper River; Cherry Hill, N.J.
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