Cal Opens Season with Pac-10 Challenge

March 25, 2008

BERKELEY - California opens the 2008 season with the Pac-10 Challenge presented by Windermere March 29-30 in Redwood Shores, Calif. This year's regatta features three Pac-10 teams - the Golden Bears, host Stanford and UCLA - along with several other top schools in the Division I ranks. Cal's varsity eight boat is ranked ninth in the USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) national preseason poll and will compete against the likes of No. 2 Virginia, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 15 Notre Dame this weekend.

The Cal varsity eight schedule includes the Virginia race at approximately 9:24 a.m. on Saturday, the Ohio State race at about 4:52 p.m. on Saturday and the Notre Dame race at approximately 9:24 a.m. on Sunday.

Scouting the Bears
Coming off a 2007 season in which they placed seventh at the NCAA Championships, the Bears look to return to contention and possibly reach the heights of 2005 and 2006, when they won the overall NCAA team titles. With most of last season's squad intact and an infusion of new young talent, two-time CRCA Coach of the Year Dave O'Neill has his Bears poised for another strong year.

All-American and co-captain Mara Allen is back for her final season as a Bear after competing for the U.S. national team and O'Neill at the World Rowing Under-23 Championships. Seniors Candice Rediger, Onna Poeter, Ali Seders, Maggie Devine and Summer Ohlendorf, who were part of Cal's 2005 and 2006 success, provide plenty of veteran talent and leadership for the Bears.

The junior class features Krista Ellis, who coxed Cal's varsity eight last year, Elena Humphreys, Melissa Herman, Emmie Koenig, Katy Milton, Lauren Nowinski, Kaiti Seders and Sam Silvia, who rowed in Cal's Pac-10 champion second varsity eight last year. Lou Kinder is Cal's other co-captain and a member of a strong sophomore class that includes Eeva Karppinen, who rowed in the varsity eight as a freshman in 2007, Taryn O'Connell, who joined Allen at the 2007 World U-23 Championships, Kelsey Bates, Kristen Campbell and Adrienne Keller.

Cal also boasts freshmen Mary Jeghers, Bridget Moran and Sam Sartor. Moran and Sartor competed in the pair for Canada at the World Junior Championships last summer in Beijing. Moran and Sartor defeated Australia to win the B final and finish seventh overall.

2007 in Review
Cal claimed seventh at NCAAs last season after its varsity eight took 13th place, its second varsity eight placed second and its varsity four finished third. Brown was the 2007 overall champion and Virginia was runner-up. At the Pac-10 Championships, Cal finished second behind top-ranked USC, after the Bears captured the second varsity eight title and placed third in the varsity eight race.

The Bears ended last season ranked eighth in the final USRowing/CRCA poll, which came out before the beginning of the NCAA Championships.

Cal Women's Crew History
Cal women's crew was founded in 1974. The Bears have been a successful crew team since their origin, winning the Pacific Coast intercollegiate title just a year later in 1975. In Cal's first five years as an intercollegiate team it won an impressive four Pacific Coast championships. In 1980 the Bears won the AIAW National Championship, Cal's first ever varsity national championship in any women's sport.

In 2004 the Bears returned to the top, winning their first Pac-10 championship. In 2005 and 2006 the Bears continued their success in the Pac-10, while adding consecutive NCAA team championships to the crew's illustrious history. The 2005 Cal varsity eight set an NCAA record for fastest race (6:20.7) on its way to an undefeated season.

Up Next:Bears Visit Longhorns
After the Pac-10 Rowing Challenge, Cal competes against Texas on April 12 in Austin, Texas.

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