This Weekend: Pac-10 Rowing Championships
May 12, 2009
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- The 2009 Pac-10 Rowing Championships will be held on Sunday, May 17, at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma. The exclusive Pac-10 competition takes place on the second of two full days of elite rowing on Lake Natoma. It is a one-day event that will include the following races: men's varsity eight, women's varsity eight, men's second varsity eight, women's second varsity eight, men's varsity four, women's varsity four, men's freshman/novice eight, and women's novice eight. The Pacific Coast Rowing Championships stir the waters on Saturday, May 16.
Championships Central: Event details, lane assignments, live splits and timing provided by JAMCO, and directions to the Sacramento State Aquatic Center are available online at Pac-10 Rowing Championships Central.
Competitors: All eight Pac-10 institutions who sponsor rowing - CALIFORNIA, OREGON, OREGON STATE, STANFORD, UCLA, USC, WASHINGTON and WASHINGTON STATE - will hit the start line on Sunday. In addition, four non-Conference squads will partake in the women's contests but be ineligible for regatta scoring. Those entrants include Gonzaga, Sacramento State, St. Mary's, and U.C. Davis.
Tickets and Fees: Admission to the 2009 Pac-10 Rowing Championships is $5 per person for the day. There will be an additional parking fee per event day in Nimbus Flat State Park ($8) or at the end of Tributary Point Drive ($5). The latter lot is located approximately 1/3 of a mile from the race course. It is an easy walk. Alternately, a complementary shuttle service will run every 20 minutes. The pick-up/drop-off area is located in front of the Hartford/Health Net buildings.
Championships Streaming: Live streaming of the rowing championships will be available online at www.pac-10.org. From the homepage, click on the live stream graphic on the right side of the page. Viewers must sign into All-Access, a free video content service that requires new users to create a login account.
In the Polls: The Stanford University women earned the No. 1 ranking in the May 6 USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association NCAA Division I Varsity Eight Coaches Poll. Following its victory over previous No. 1-ranked California, Stanford moved up to the top spot in the Division I rankings, earning 20 of 25 first-place votes. Cal ranked second. The University of Washington rounded out the top 10 with a No. 9 standing. Three additional Conference teams populated the top 15 in No. 12 USC, No. 13 Oregon State, and No. 15 Washington State. UCLA received a No. 19 rating.
In the Men's Varsity Eight USRowing Collegiate Poll, the Pac-10 reigned supreme with three teams ranked in the top 5. The Huskies remained No. 2 for the second consecutive week. But chasing closely behind were Conference foes No. 3 California and No. 4t Stanford. Oregon State enters the Pac-10 Championships at No. 16, a rating the Beavers have owned for the past month.
Pac-10 rankings in other polls include:
Men's ACRA Varsity Eights - No. 8 UCLA
Men's ACRA Lightweight Eights - No. 3 California, No. 4 Washington
Women's ACRA Lightweight Eights - No. 1 California
Men's ACRA Freshmen/Novice Eights - No. 7 Washington State
Women's Lightweight Varsity Eight (USRowing) - No. 2t Stanford, No. 8 California
National Collegiate Championships: The 13th Annual Division I Women's Rowing Championships will take place May 29-31 in Cherry Hill, N.J. Only two Pac-10 institutions have national titles to their credit - defending Pac-10 champion California, and Washington. Both programs have won the championships in back-to-back fashion; the Huskies completed the feat in 1997 and 1998 and California earned the double tally in 2005 and 2006. Washington claimed its third title in 2001.
The men's Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships will be hosted June 4-6 on Lake Natoma, site of the Pac-10's annual championships. On the heels of its 2007 National Men's Eights title, Washington claimed the team championship at the 2008 IRAs in Camden, N.J.
Pac-10 Notes: With its victory in the varsity eight, Washington completed a men's sweep of grand finals at the 2008 Pac-10 Rowing Championships, something it hadn't achieved since 1997. A repeat performance in 2009 by the Huskies, while feasible, will come as a much greater challenge. Three of the Pac-10's four men's varsity crews round out the top five in the USRowing Collegiate Poll (5/6/09), including No. 2 Washington, No. 3 Stanford, and No. 4 California. The fourth squad, No. 16 Oregon State, has established itself as a perennial top-20 contender.
All four teams have faced one another in head-to-head contests this season, the results of which suggest that the 2009 Pac-10 Championship is up for grabs. California, then the top-ranked varsity eight in the country, dropped to Washington by just over two seconds in the race for the Schoch Cup on April 25. On their home lake, the Huskies won all four races and arguably dealt the Golden Bears a dose of déjà vu. Just three weeks prior, however, the result was reversed in the marquee varsity eight final at the San Diego Crew Classic when California edged No. 1-rated Washington to win the Copley Cup.
Meanwhile, Stanford's varsity eight lined up against the Huskies on April 17 and raced to a 4.5-second victory. The Cardinal got out to a lead in the first 500 meters and maintained it throughout the race. Continuing its winning ways, the Stanford varsity boat outpaced Oregon State in a dual the following day. In addition, the Cardinal crew defeated California in a heat at the San Diego Crew Classic, but the Golden Bears would return the favor by winning the event the following day by 4.6 seconds.
Oregon State's varsity eight boat was invited to compete in the invitational portion of the Windermere Cup Opening Day Regatta, one of the biggest rowing races in America. There the Beavers had a unique opportunity to not only take on Washington in a Pac-10 Championships rehearsal, but also to compete against international competition in the Brazilian Rowing Federation.
Among the Pac-10's men's club teams, UCLA cruised past the Trojans in the 2009 edition of the rivals' annual dual. In that contest, the two crews were even at the 500-meter mark and USC had a one-seat lead by the 1000. Though the Trojans eventually fell to an 11-second deficit, USC looks forward to redemption at the Pac-10 Championships. Washington State boasts a top-10 novice eight boat.
On the women's side, California looks to claim its fifth Conference team title in the last six years and defend its 2008 championship. Against Conference foes this season, California rowed to an easy victory over Stanford at the Lake Natoma Invitational on April 19, defeating the Cardinal by nearly 9 seconds. But the Cardinal arrived at the Big Row on May 2 with redemption in mind, and Cal's top-ranked varsity eight fell to Stanford's fourth-ranked varsity eight by less than four seconds. On April 25, the Golden Bears also bested Washington by more than 10 seconds, claiming the Simpson Cup for the seventh straight year.
Both UCLA and Washington State are led by 2008 Pocock Division I All-Americans in Vanessa Teff and Irena Neffeova. Teff, a second team honoree, became the first three-time All-American in UCLA women's rowing history. Neffeova, a senior from Prague, Czech Republic, became just the second Cougar to earn first team All-American accolades. The Cougars bring a solid second varsity eight who completed an undefeated weekend against three top-10 programs in Columbus, Ohio, April 17-19.
USC has come up big a few times this season, most notably at the Charles River Challenge. The Trojans completed a sweep in the morning session on Apr. 26 and returned in the afternoon with an incredibly close runner-up finish to No. 15 Virginia in the varsity eight race. On May 2 the Trojans finished off UCLA, 6-1. The win brings the Trojans to an overall record of 8-0 in dual meets against the Bruins. Rounding out the Pac-10 field is Oregon State. In the Jessop-Whittier Cup final at the San Diego Crew Classic, the Beavers started with a lead over northwest rival Washington State that turned into a battle for fifth place. The Beavers pulled ahead at the end.