Washington men, Stanford women earn Pac-12 men's and women's rowing titles
GOLD RIVER, Calif. - The sun was out and the strong winds held off just long enough in the morning to create near perfect racing conditions for the 2014 Pac-12 Rowing Championships at Lake Natoma in Golf River, Calif. The WASHINGTON men won three of four races on the day to capture its fifth-consecutive Pac-12 title while the STANFORD women took gold in three of four to win it all for the first time in program history. The Cardinal’s win also dethroned reigning champion California, who had taken the title for the last six-straight years.
The three-time defending national champion and four-time defending Pac-12 champion Huskies didn’t waste any time on their quest for their fifth-straight and 33rd overall Pac-12 title, taking gold in the first two races of the day on the men’s side.
In the men’s novice eight race, the Huskies got out to an early lead they never relinquished, passing the finish line with a time of 5:50.3—three seconds faster than second-place California (5:53.7) and just over 16 seconds faster than third-place OREGON STATE (6:06.6). The men’s varsity four race was a chance for Washington to avenge their only loss in the championships last year, and that’s exactly what they did. The Bears had beaten the Huskies a year ago, but UW got the better of Cal this time around, finishing in front of them with a time of 6:26.1. Second-place Cal clocked a time of 6:29.3 while third-place Oregon State recorded a 6:55.6.
The Bears prevented the Huskies from a sweep by way of earning gold in the second varsity eight race, out-stroking UW’s second eight and winning with a time of 5:46.4. It was close until the finish, however, as the Huskies time of 5:48.1 trailed the Bears by just 1.6 seconds. The third-place Beavers clocked in at 6:06.9 while fourth-place Stanford posted a 6:07.4.
In the main event, Washington solidified its spot as the top Dawgs in the Conference, fending off pesky California to win the varsity eight race by a mere 1.2 seconds over the Bears. The gold medal winners recorded 5:36.1 to cap another impressive day for UW at the Pac-12 Championships. Silver medalist Cal came in at 5:37.3 and bronze medalist Stanford followed with a 5:53.8.
In total, Washington collected 70 points to take the team championship while California posted 65 to earn second. Oregon State, meanwhile, matched its highest finish in program history, coming in third with 50 points. Stanford took fourth with 48, followed by WASHINGTON STATE (21) and COLORADO (20).
The women’s side offered a little more intrigue as it seemed one team was poised to dethrone six-time defending champion California. The Bears have dominated the championships over the last decade, winning eight of the last 10. The Cardinal, however, had other plans this year and it started with its first win over the Bears in the annual “The Big Row” between the two Bay Area rivals since 2009 and only the third time since 1997. While Cal looked to avenge the loss at the championships on Sunday morning, Stanford took the opportunity to solidify its spot at the top of the Pac-12 in 2014.
The first-ever team team title for the Cardinal came by way of three first-place finishes and one third-place finish on the day. The women’s novice eight raced kicked off the 2014 championships, and the Cardinal fell behind Washington and UCLA out of the gate and couldn’t get a final push to overtake the two. For the second-consecutive year the Huskies ‘novice boat took gold, crossing the finish with a time of 6:49.8. The Bruins followed in second with a 6:54.8 while the Cardinal crossed the finish with a 7:01.8.
From there it was all Cardinal. In the women’s varsity four, Stanford jumped out to a lead from the beginning that they were able to maintain through the finish, taking gold with a time of 7:13.2—just under four seconds ahead of second-place Washington (7:17.1). The Bears of California captured bronze after posting a 7:19.8.
The second varsity eight race was a little tighter, with UCLA pushing the Cardinal from start to finish, but Stanford held the Bruins off for another first-place finish with a time of 6:34.2. UCLA fell just 2.9 seconds short with a 6:37.1 for a silver medal finish. California followed with a time of 6:39.2 to take the bronze.
The women’s varsity eight race proved to be the most exciting on the day, as the race started close and stayed neck-and-neck until the very last stroke through the finish line. At the halfway point it looked as if it would come down to Stanford, California and USC, but Washington made a move through the third 500 meters to challenge for the gold. With the Huskies and Bears trailing narrowly behind, the Cardinal kicked it into another gear through the final 250 meters to edge out the rest of the field and win the gold with a time of 6:20.8. Washington completed their comeback to earn second-place with a time of 6:21.9, just 0.6 seconds ahead of third-place California (6:22.5).
The Cardinal dominated the day, collecting 44.5 points to to earn the title and their first automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Championships. Washington finished second for the second time in three years with 35.5 points, followed by California (32) in third, UCLA (27) in fourth, USC (18.5) in fifth, Washington State (17.5) in sixth and Oregon State (7) in seventh.
The women will head to the NCAA Championships that take place May 29-31 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind. while the men will compete in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships at Mercer Lake in Windsor, N.J. May 30-June 1.
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Washington 70
2. California 65
3. Oregon State 50
4. Stanford 48
5. Washington State 21
6. Colorado 20
1. Stanford 44.5
2. Washington 35.5
3. California 32
4. UCLA 27
5. USC 18.5
6. Washington State 17.5
7. Oregon State 7