No. 3 Cal Looks to Win a Second Consecutive IRA Championship

May 30, 2007

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This Week: No. 3 California heads to Camden, N.J. for the IRA championships held on Cooper River. The Golden Bears are the reigning national champions, but they face tough competition from two undefeated crews, Washington and Harvard. Cal is coming off consecutive losses to Washington in dual competition and in the Pac-10 championships.

The Field: The varsity eight field consists of 12 teams: No. 1 Washington, No. 2 Harvard, No. 3 California, No. 4 Yale, No. 5 Princeton, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 7 Brown, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Syracuse, No. 10 Michigan, No. 14 Pennsylvania and No. 16 Navy. The Bears will face Princeton and Navy in their opening varsity eight heat. The second varsity eight will be challenged by Columbia and Cornell in their first race of the championship. Orange Coast and Boston University will face the California freshman eight in the opening heat. Cal will be fielding three additional boats; the pair, freshman four and open four will compete in the IRA Championships.

2007 All-Pac-10 Rowing Team: Senior Dan Casaca, senior Elliot Hayes and junior Charlie Smith were all named to the 2007 All-Pac-10 Team. This marks Hayes and Smith's first appearance on the all-conference team, while Casaca received All-Pac-10 honors in 2006.

Last Year in the IRA Championships: The Bears captured the Varsity Challenge Cup with a two-second victory over Princeton in the varsity eight race. This victory gave head coach Steve Gladstone his 11th career national title, tying him with Charles 'Pop' Courtney for most varsity eight championships in the history of collegiate racing. The victory was Cal's first since winning four in a row from 1999-2002. The Bears have won 15 gold medals in the varsity eight race all time, second only to Cornell's 26 IRA championships. In addition to the varsity eight event, the Bears were second in the second varsity eight petite final, second in the freshman eight grand final, fourth in the pairs grand final, third in the freshman four and second in the varsity four.

Pac-10 Championship Recap (May 13, 2007): The Bears came 1.5 seconds short of winning a third consecutive Pac-10 title, and their ninth in the past ten years. Washington and Cal finished one-two in all four grand finals, with the Bears winning the varsity four and freshman eight races. In the varsity four grand final, the Bears exchanged the lead with Washington multiple times over the 2000 meter course, but Cal finished with a three-second lead. The Bears' freshman eight dominated throughout, leading wire-to-wire and finishing nearly eight seconds ahead of the Huskies. Washington cruised to a five-second win in the second varsity eight race. In the varsity eight competition, the Huskies held a narrow margin of victory for the entire race, finishing with a time of 5:46.35 to Cal's 5:47.89.

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