Washington, Cal lead early Pac-12 charge in IRA championships

The back-to-back national champion Washington Huskies cruised through Day 1 of the three-day 111th annual Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. Washington’s boats won five heats, while three Cal crews took first in their heats. Stanford’s varsity eight boat also advanced to Saturday’s semifinals.


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After one day of races, the No. 1 Huskies are in good shape to claim their third straight IRA national championship, as Washington’s varsity eight boat won its heat in 5:45.10, nearly three seconds ahead of Yale. The Huskies are also on track to secure their seventh straight Ten Eyck Trophy — awarded to the program with the most overall points throughout the weekend — because  each of Washington’s five teams won their individual heats with at least a few seconds to spare.

The junior varsity eight won by about three seconds, while three of the Huskies’ other boats all finished at least seven seconds before the second-place boat. The Washington open four unit’s race, for instance, was not even remotely close. The boat ended its heat in 6:48.04, 12 full seconds ahead of Cal and 49 seconds ahead of fourth-place Dartmouth.

 


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The No. 3 Bears did not need any repechages to advance all five of their boats to Saturday’s semifinals. Three Cal boats won their preliminary heats, including the all-important varsity eight boat, which had the fastest time (5:40.98) of all the varsity eight heats. The program’s junior varsity eight boat was also the fastest of all the heats, finishing in 5:52.59, nearly six seconds faster than Northeastern, the second-place boat in the Bears’ heat. Cal’s varsity four boat’s margin (6:37.44-6:41.89) was almost as great, beating out Brown by almost five seconds. The Bears’ open four and freshman eight boats both placed second.

Head coach Mike Teti was pleased with Cal’s performances but knows the competition will stiffen in the semifinals. “We're going to have to dial it up a notch,” he told CalBears.com. “As much as they executed well today, they all know they have to be better tomorrow.”

 


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The Cardinal entered two boats, but only one will be racing in Saturday’s semifinals. Stanford’s varsity eight finished second in its preliminary heat in 5:51.025, edging out third-place Wisconsin by a mere second to snag an automatic berth to the semifinals. That Cardinal boat, ranked fourth in the nation, won the silver medal at the Pac-12 Championships on May 19, held at the very same location.

The Cardinal’s junior varsity eight would not be so lucky. The boat was the last of four to cross the finish line in the preliminary heat, eight seconds off the time of the second-place automatic bid. The crew had another chance in the afternoon repechage race, but could not rebound, finishing in a distant third place. The season, however, is not over just yet for Stanford’s junior varsity eight. The boat will race again Sunday in the Third-Level Final for places 13-16.

 


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The Beavers, competing in the IRA Championships for the first time since 2010, were a mixed bag on Friday. Oregon State’s best finish was in the open four, in which the Beavers took second at 6:52.570, three and a half seconds ahead of Harvard. Oregon State’s other boats were not as fortunate. The varsity eight crew followed up a fifth-place finish in the heat with a third-place effort in the repechage. The second varsity eight crew’s heat and repechage finishes were identical, much to the chagrin of Beavers fans. Oregon State’s varsity four crew opened with a fourth-place finish in the preliminary heat but snagged second in the repechage.

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