Rowers Head To Lake Natoma
First race (Men's N8) at Pac-12 Rowing Championships starts in just a few minutes! Live splits: ow.ly/aStXg
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) May 13, 2012
Washington is seeking its third consecutive Pac-12 title and fifth in the last six years. The Huskies won the three varsity races at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships, and then went on to capture their 14th IRA National Championship. Washington was also the overall points champion for the fifth straight season, taking home the Ten Eyck Trophy after winning four races. The Huskies remained undefeated this season, including a sweep of rival Cal with four open water wins at Redwood Shores on April 21. Washington has also topped Stanford and Brown in convincing fashion this season.
Cal brings a talented yet young crew to Lake Natoma. The Golden Bears entered the spring looking to build on the momentum of an undefeated 2011 season for their freshman eight. The freshman boat captured the Pac-10 and IRA Championships as well as the Temple Challenge Cup at the Royal Henley Regatta. Cal opened the season with a second-place finish in the varsity eight at the San Diego Crew Classic, falling to then-No. 1 Harvard. The Bears swept Stanford in the Big Row, retaining the Schwabacher Cup in the varsity eight.
Stanford won the varsity and second varsity eight races over Oregon State during its trip to the Pacific Northwest. The Cardinal finished nearly five seconds ahead of the Beavers in the varsity eight and 10 seconds faster in the second eight. Stanford's top boat finished fourth in San Diego behind Harvard, Cal and Navy. The Cardinal nearly upset Wisconsin at the Pac-12 Challenge/Stanford Invitational, falling by just two-tenths of a second in the varsity eight.
Oregon State has faced tough competition this season, including a cross-country trek to face a top-10 Northeastern squad on the Charles River. The Beavers finished behind Northeastern but ahead of Holy Cross. OSU earned wins over UC Davis, UC San Diego and Santa Clara at the Pac-12 Challenge/Stanford Invitational. The second varsity eight finished second and the varsity four was third at Washington's Windermere Cup.
Colorado, UCLA, USC and Washington State complete the men's field at the Pac-12 Championships. Washington State finished fifth in the varsity eight last season.
Despite having one of the youngest rosters in head coach Dave O'Neill's tenure, Cal ascended to the top national ranking after sweeping then-No. 2 Washington. Cal retained the Simpson Cup in their storied rivalry with a victory of more than seven seconds over the Huskies in the varsity eight. After a fourth-place showing at the San Diego Crew Classic, the Bears' varsity eight has won five straight races. Cal swept Stanford in the Big Row, competing as Team Jill in honor of Jill Costello. The Bears are seeking their fifth consecutive Pac-12 crown and their eighth in the last nine years.
One of the talented crews looking to break Cal's streak is USC, who won the conference title in 2007. The Trojans opened the season by capturing its second straight Jessop-Whittier Cup at the San Diego Crew Classic, defeating four Pac-12 teams and Virginia, who had been ranked No. 1 all spring until Cal took over. USC captured seven of its eight races at the Stanford Invitational, including three by the varsity eight. The varsity eight enters the Pac-12 Championships with a perfect record after defeating UCLA to finish the regular season.
Despite its dual-race loss to Cal, Washington has posted strong results. The Huskies' varsity eight finished third in San Diego, ahead of Cal and Stanford, as all teams battled fierce winds in the grand final. UW also finished second in the second varsity eight and third in the novice event. The Huskies won four of five races against Washington State in their annual dual, including the varsity eight to keep the Apple Cup trophy in Seattle for the second year in a row.
UCLA has vaulted in the nation's top 10 this season. The Bruins won the second varsity eight at the San Diego Crew Classic to capture the Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Trophy. UCLA's top boat was fifth at the regatta while the freshman finished second behind Cal. UCLA captured three out of five races against USC, including the second varsity eight. The Bruins have also posted victories over Loyola Marymount, San Diego and Louisville this spring.
Stanford has faced a schedule loaded with ranked teams. The Cardinal split its eight races against Michigan State and Notre Dame at the Stanford Invitational. Stanford's varsity eight rebounded from a morning loss to the Spartans to outpace Notre Dame. The Cardinal also finished third in points behind Cal and Wisconsin at the Lake Natoma Invitational.
Washington State swept Gonzaga in an April dual and advanced two crews to the grand finals at the San Diego Crew Classic. The Cougars' highlight on Mission Bay was a second-place result in the varsity four final for the Karen Plumleigh Cortney Cup. Washington State also won four out of five races against Oregon State to claim the Crawford Perpetual Plate and the Winchell Cup.
Oregon State captured five of six races from Gonzaga back in March. The Beavers also traveled to Michigan for tough tests against the host Wolverines, Ohio State and Tennessee. OSU's novice eight defeated Michigan and Ohio State, while the varsity eight came in second to both squads but beat the Volunteers.