2014 Pac-12 Rowing Championships

Event: 5/18, Lake Natoma, CA
TV: 5/24 at 9:30 am PT on Pac-12 Networks

2014 Pac-12 men's and women's rowing championships set for Sunday

PAC-12 MEN’S ROWING PREVIEW
The Pac-12 Rowing Championships will, once again, feature a loaded field on the men’s side. Four Pac-12 men’s rowing crews enter the week ranked in the top-20 in the USRowing Collegiate Poll, including the top two spots as Washington and California sit at one and two, respectively. Six squads will compete at this year’s Conference Championships and five will have their sights set on unseating four-time defending champion Washington.

 

Top-ranked Washington took over the No.1 spot in the USRC rankings on April 30 after taking down California in their annual dual meeting on April 26. The Huskies are seeking its fifth-consecutive Pac-12 Championship and seventh in the last eight years. For the second-consecutive year, UW won all five Grand Finals at the IRA National Championships en route to claiming their third-straight national championship and 16th overall. The Huskies, who accrued the highest team score at the IRA’s, won the Ten Eyck Trophy for a record seventh-straight season. In addition to beating the then-No.1 ranked Golden Bears, the men’s varsity eight has notched victories over ranked opponents Brown (No. 6), Stanford (No. 12), and Oregon State (No. 14). The lone loss in the spring season by the Huskies’ top boat came against Great Britain’s national team, who traveled to Seattle to compete in the 28th Annual Windermere Cup.

California looks to be the first team that could upend defending Conference champion Washington in five years after finishing second to the Huskies each of the last two championships. The second-ranked Golden Bears spent a majority of the season ranked atop the collegiate polls, and only fell to No. 2 after losing the dual to the Huskies by less than a second—the Bears’ only defeat of the season. Cal kicked off the 2014 spring campaign with a varsity eight victory at the San Diego Crew Classic to claim their fifth Copley Cup in the past six years. The I Eight followed its performance in the opener by leading a sweep of No. 12 Wisconsin at the Stanford Invitational on April 18 and paced the Bears to a sweep of then-No. 16 Oregon State on April 19. The Bears capped the regular season by avenging a loss against Stanford in last year’s Big Row, emphasizing the victory by completing the sweep of the Cardinal. 

Stanford, currently ranked 12th in the country, turned in a strong regular season that included three first-place finishes by the varsity eight. The Cardinal started the season with a sweep at the Davis Invitational in Sacramento and followed that performance with a third-place finish by the varsity eight at the annual San Diego Crew Classic. The other victories came against No. 12 Wisconsin and the University San Diego in the home-hosted Stanford Invitational. Despite dropping two of three races at  then-No. 18 Oregon State, the varsity eight secured the victory with a win over the Beavers’ top boat. The Pac-12 Championships will provide a shot at redemption for the Cardinal, who fell to top-ranked Washington and second-ranked California this season. 

Oregon State brings a battle-hardened crew to Lake Natoma. The 14th-ranked Beavers have gone toe-to-toe with four top-15 teams this season, including a finish ahead of then-No. 12 Wisconsin with their top boat at the Stanford Invitational. OSU’s varsity eight noticed another victory over Gonzaga on April 12, and despite losing the varsity eight race, took two of three races from the Cardinal on April 13. The Beavers finished fourth at the Conference meet last season and are sure to challenge to finish higher at the 2014 event. 

Colorado and Washington State complete the men’s field at the Pac-12 Championships. Washington State finished fifth in the varsity eight last season, while Colorado finished sixth. 

PAC-12 WOMEN’S ROWING PREVIEW
The women’s competition promises to be as competitive as ever, as six Pac-12 teams are ranked among the top 20 in the CRCA/US Rowing Coaches Poll, including four in the top 10 and two in the top five. Fourth-ranked California, winners of back-to-back NCAA titles in 2005 & 2006, will look to continue its recent dominance, but plenty of other teams will be gunning to change the guard at the 2014 Pac-12 Rowing Championship on Sunday, May 18. 

Fourth-ranked California is seeking its sixth-consecutive Pac-12 crown and its ninth in the last 10 years. The Bears began the season as the top-ranked team, and lived up to billing as they opened the season with a win by the second varsity eight at the San Diego Crew Classic, then followed with a first-place overall finish at the Lake Natoma Invitational. The Golden Bears’ varsity eight avenged a loss to Washington in Seattle a year ago by capturing the Simpson Cup at home in their annual dual rivalry meeting. Cal will look to reverse a loss to then-No. 4 Stanford that ended the regular season, as the Cardinal took five of six from the then-No. 2 Golden Bears.

Third-ranked Stanford jumped the Bears in the rankings after their first win in the Lambert Cup—the award given to the varsity eight winner—since 2009 and only the third time since 1997. The Cardinal are a battle-tested team after kicking off the spring campaign facing No. 3 Virginia and No. 16 Louisville in the Pac-12 Challenge. Despite losing three of four to Virginia and two of four to Louisville, Stanford’s varsity four turned in the highlight of the day by handing the Cavaliers their first loss of the season. The Cardinal later turned in finishes ahead of No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 20 San Diego at the Lake Natoma Invitational on April 12 & 13. While USC’s varsity eight took down the Cardinal in their dual meet, three other boats managed to secure victories over the Trojans. 

Seventh-ranked Washington has produced a solid season that began with two second-place finishes by the varsity eight and second varsity eight at the San Diego Crew Classic, capped by a dominant win by women’s novice eight for a second-consecutive victory in that event. They went on to sweep Washington State in their annual dual to keep the Apple Cup trophy in Seattle for the fourth year in a row. After a varsity eight defeat to then-No. 2 California, Washington closed out the regular season with its eighth-straight Windermere Cup victory, finishing just under five seconds ahead of Great Britain’s women’s national team.

USC, currently ranked eighth by the CRCA, will be a top challenger at the 2014 championships after finishing second behind California a year ago. After a challenging dual against then-No. 3 Virginia to start the season, the varsity eight claimed its fourth-straight Jessop-Whittier Cup at the annual San Diego Crew Classic, while the second varsity eight won the Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Trophy for the second-consecutive year and the third time ever. The varsity four also repeated as winners at the classic, capturing the Karen Plumleigh Cortney Cup with a just under six-second win over California. The Trojans picked up an impressive dual meet win over Stanford before notching the victory over cross-town rival and 12th-ranked UCLA.

The Bruins are no stranger to high-profile regattas. The Bruins’ varsity four and novice eight both recorded third-place finishes at the San Diego Crew Classic, as the varsity four finished ahead of Washington, San Diego and Iowa and the novice eight was just 0.18 seconds behind second-place California. They followed up with a solid performance at the Clemson Invitational, an event that featured four nationally ranked crews. UCLA won three of four races on day one of the regatta, and both of its varsity eight shells recorded first-place finishes on day two.

Washington State started the season on a high note, taking four of six races at Gonzaga in an early season dual and advanced all four of its crews to the grand finals at the San Diego Crew Classic. After picking up three wins at the Clemson Invitational in mid-April, the Cougars beat Oregon State in all but one race on May 3, with the Beavers and Cougars top boats tying in the varsity eight race to each earn their share of the Crawford Perpetual Plate. On the day, the Cougars captured the Winchell Cup for the fifth-consecutive year. WSU is ranked No. 16 by the CRCA.

Oregon State had a solid showing at the Pac-12 Challenge in late March, beating San Diego in the varsity eight and second varsity eight races at the event. After the performance, the Beavers cracked CRCA’s top-20 for the first time since 2010. Against a tough field at a home-hosted Oregon State Classic, the Beavers took down Duke in the varsity eight dual. OSU ’s top boat capped the year on a strong note with a tie at No. 16 WSU, earning them a share of the Crawford Perpetual Plate—coveted by the winner of the annual race between the two schools.

 

 

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