Stanford Women Sweep California To Highlight Cardinal Crews At The Big Row
May 2, 2009
REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. - The Stanford and California crews met for The Big Row amid scattered showers and gray skies but relatively calm conditions Saturday, and a collection of thrilling performances was highlighted by the Cardinal women sweeping all three NCAA events (first varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity four) against the rival Golden Bears for the first time.
The Stanford lightweight crew came out victorious in its race against California's third openweight boat as well on Saturday, and on the men's side California swept the three races.
In the women's novice race, California defeated Stanford by a 15-second margin.
In the women's first varsity eight event, No. 4 Stanford captured the Lambert Cup for the first time since 2002 in a thrilling 3.9-second victory over top-ranked California that sent the Stanford crowd into a frenzy.
The Cardinal attacked the Golden Bears right out of the blocks. The two crews battled for 1,000 meters before the Cardinal opened their lead to a boatlength as they emerged from Redwood Shores' legendary double-arched bridge.
California had beaten Stanford at the Lake Natoma Challenge two weeks ago by nine seconds (three boatlengths), so when the Cardinal emerged from the bridge today with a solid lead, the crowd at Paragon Point, an equal mix of Cal and Stanford fans, was initially shocked into silence, before the Stanford contingent broke into cheers of 'GO STANFORD!' as the Cardinal eight opened the lead to just under four seconds by the finish line.
Stanford crossed the line in a time of 6:25.6 to California's 6:29.5. The result marked California's only loss thus far this year.
The second varsity eight entered Saturday's race having defeated California on the way to winning the Lake Natoma Invitational two weeks ago. Stanford again led from the start and worked its way into open water by the 1,000-meter mark. California countered with an attack in the third 500, where there was a mild crosswind, but the Cardinal pushed back to a clear-water victory in a time of 6:42.50 by the finish line.
The Stanford second varsity eight lineup was comprised of: Seniors Sophie Aubrey, Lauren Hofmayer and Katie O'Neil, along with Susan Bryukhanov, Elise Guinee-Cooper, Marielle Higgins, Cassie Kull, Maura Moran, and Erin Radigan.
The varsity four race between the Cardinal and Golden Bears ended up being the tightest of the day. The Cardinal charged out to an open water lead right off the line. California mounted a charge that closed the gap to one deck, or about one second, at 1,500-meter mark, but Stanford senior Kathy Altman, the stroke of the boat, then led a blistering sprint in front of the Paragon Point crowd to clinch the nearly three-second victory with a finishing time of 7:37.66 to California's 7:39.25.
As part of Senior Day, the Stanford women honored seniors Kathy Altman, Sophie Aubrey, Lauren Hofmayer, Katie O'Neil, Sonia Poltoratski for their contribution to the team with flowers. Altman, Aubrey, Hofmayer and O'Neil ended their home racing careers with victories over California at The Big Row.
'Today featured three very exciting races,' said Stanford women's head coach Yasmin Farooq. 'Now we've got two solid weeks of work ahead to prepare for Pac-10's.'
Cardinal captain Lauren Hofmayer added, 'Today was proof that our whole team can really come together and make the work we put in everyday pay off. Every boat stepped it up and left everything on the water. I am so proud to be a part of this team.'
Stanford's lightweight eight trailed California's openweight third varsity eight through the 500-meter mark, but then charged through the Golden Bears in the middle 1,000 to win by nearly eight seconds, with a time of 6:58.9 to California's 7:06.9.
The lightweight eight crew consisted of: Jess Weigel, Gretchen Stumhofer, Genevieve Tuveson, Kristin Goodsell, Katherine Heflin, Anna Garbier, Jenna Wixon-Genack, Olivia Trowers, Karyn Haitz
'Today was a solid row.' said Stanford lightweight head coach Al Acosta. 'Although we still have a lot of work to do, I'm pleased that the team is continuing to make significant technical progress.'
On the men's side, the Cardinal battled valiantly but fell in all three races to the Golden Bears. In the first varsity eight event, No. 4 California led No. 3 Stanford from the start. The Golden Bears had a boatlength on the Cardinal by the 1,000-meter mark, and although Stanford held California at that margin heading into the final 500 meters of the race, the Golden Bears sprinted out to a 4.54-second win from that point. The Golden Bears crossed the finish line with a time of 5:41.54 against the Cardinal's 5:46.08.
In the second varsity eight race, the boats were dead even at the 500-meter mark, with California nosing its bowball a few feet ahead at the 1,000-meter mark. Over the final half of the course California would break the race open to win by 11.69 seconds with a finishing time of 5:48.8.
On the frosh end, Stanford was just a few feet back at the 500-meter mark, but then California pushed out into a boatlength in the body of the race, eventually winning in a time of 6:00.23.
'The Big Row is a testimony to the respect that each team has for one another,' Stanford Director of Rowing and men's head coach Craig Amerkhanian said. 'Today California was the better team and we salute their effort.'
Both the Stanford and California rowers raced in pink to bring attention to the battle against breast cancer at The Big Row on Saturday.
T-shirts were also worn in memory of Carol Amerkhanian Marganian, Stanford and Cal fan, and sister of Craig Amerkhanian. Marganian succumbed to breast cancer in October.
'This was a solid statement for breast cancer awareness from both Cal and Stanford,' Amerkhanian noted.
Dan Gordon of Gordon Biersch, and a Redwood Shores resident, weathered the rain to serve up bratwurst, garlic fries and beverages to rowers and fans of The Big Row. Proceeds from the barbecue benefitted both the Stanford and California rowing teams.