Rowers Ready for Pac-10 Championships

May 15, 2002

Seattle -
This Week: The Washington rowing team heads to Rancho Cordova, Calif. for the Pacific-10 Conference Championships, Sun., May 19 on Lake Natoma. Heat racing begins at 8:40 in the morning and grand finals start at 12:40 p.m. The top three boats from each heat advance to the grand finals. For Washington, here is a look at who is doing what at the conference regatta:

The UW Women's Team
As a team
- the Huskies won three of four conference event titles last season, with the lone setback in the novice eight grand final that went to rival Washington State ... the Huskies have swept all four races - the varsity, junior varsity and novice eights, along with the varsity four - twice in the last three years (1999, '00) and seven times overall since competition began in 1977.
Varsity eight - Aiming for an 11th consecutive Pac-10 crown.
Junior varsity eight - Aiming for its sixth consecutive title and ninth in the last 11 years.
Novice eight - Looking to reclaim hold on event that it had won six years in a row prior to last season.
Varsity four - Has won the last three in a row.

The UW Men's Team
As a team - The Huskies are defending champions in the freshman eight, with its win last season giving Washington its first title in an eights race since 1997 ... the men swept all four races in 1997, the year they went on to claim national championships in the varsity, junior varsity and freshman eights ... since the varsity four was added, the Huskies have made a clean sweep of all four events twice, in 1978 and '92 ... prior to that, when it was just the three eights racing, the Huskies ran the table four times (1965, '71, '73, '74).
Varsity eight - Seeking its first Pac-10 championship since 1997, a year which capped a string of eight straight victories in the race ... California enters as three-time defending champions.
Junior varsity eight - Also seeks its first title since 1997 ... won six in a row from 1992-97.Freshman eight
- Enters as defending champion in the event after snapping a three-year California run.Varsity four - Had won six in a row prior to last season, when California snapped the streak.

Pac-10 Grand Finals Schedule - Sunday, May 19
12:50 p.m. Women's varsity four
1:00 p.m. Men's varsity four
1:20 p.m. Men's freshman eight
1:40 p.m. Women's novice eight
2:00 p.m. Women's junior varsity eight
2:20 p.m. Men's junior varsity eight
3:00 p.m. Men's varsity eight
3:10 p.m. Women's varsity eight

In the Rankings: The Washington men's and women's varsity eights maintained their spots atop the USRowing Collegiate Coaches Poll for the week of May 6. The Husky men stand in the top spot for the second straight week, followed by California, Harvard, Northeastern and Wisconsin. The undefeated women hold the No. 1 spot for the fourth straight week, garnering 12 first place votes. Brown, which earned eight first place votes, stands at No. 2 followed by Ohio State, Princeton and Michigan. Oregon State checks in at No. 16 followed by No. 17 Washington State in the weekly top 20 poll.

Huskies Head HomeA pair of women in Washington's varsity eight return home this weekend when the Huskies make their annual trek to Sacramento, Calif. for the Pacific-10 Conference Rowing Championships, May 19 on Lake Natoma.
Senior coxswain Mary Whipple, who has led the varsity eight for the past three years, will direct the defending Pac-10 and NCAA champion Huskies down her home course for the final time. Whipple, who prepped at Sacramento Adventist Academy, is one of four seniors in the varsity eight that is undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the current USRowing Coaches Poll.
The youngster in the varsity eight this season is sophomore Yvonneke Stenken, who rows in the bow seat. A product of Rio Americano High in Sacramento, Stenken is the only sophomore on the veteran crew but brings impressive credentials to the boat. A former U.S. Junior National Team rower, she was a national champion as a part of the varsity four that won a gold medal at the NCAA Championships last season.
In all, Washington has eight men and women from the Northern California region among its eight crews that will compete at the Pac-10 Championships Sunday. Heat racing begins at 8:40 in the morning and grand finals start at 12:40 p.m. The top three boats from each heat advance to the grand finals

What's Been Going On: Washington wrapped the dual regatta and regular season with a strong performance against Oregon State on Vancouver Lake last Saturday. The Huskies won nine of 10 races contested, several by healthy margins. OSU's only victory came in the women's varsity four when it edged the Husky crew at the wire.
The 16th annual Windermere Cup saw the Huskies post a clean sweep at the Opening Day regatta on the Montlake Cut May 4, winning all 10 races in which UW boats were entered. Just prior to the Windermere Cup festivities, Washington raced at Redwood Shores in its annual dual with California and saw the men's and women's varsity eights win their races along with the freshman men and the junior varsity women. For the men's varsity eight, it was Washington's first victory over three-time defending national champion California, in any competition, since 1998 and California's first loss to anyone since '98. The women's varsity eight extended its win streak in the series to 12 in a row.
The Huskies faced Wisconsin and Washington State earlier in the season, winning the dual races against both schools. Washington opened its season at the San Diego Crew Classic April 6-7, and won five of six championship races.

Weekend Recap
The Washington rowing team wrapped up its regular season by winning nine of 10 races in its annual dual regatta with Oregon State under sunny skies and on calm water Saturday afternoon on Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, Wash. The Beavers' women's varsity four captured the lone win for OSU, while the Huskies collected victories in the varsity, junior varsity, freshmen and novice eights and the men's varsity four.
It was the Washington men's varsity four that posted the most commanding victory of the day, covering the 2,000-meter course in a time 6 minutes, 22.3 seconds, well ahead of the Beavers at 6:45.2. In the women's race, the two OSU crews posted strong finishes, with the lead boat crossing at 7:34.0, edging the Huskies at 7:35.4 with the second OSU crew right behind in third place at 7:35.7. Washington had a second boat finish in fourth place at 7:36.4 while OSU's third boat crossed at 7:48.4.

Husky Notes: No other rowing program in the country had as outstanding a year as the Washington men's and women's crews combined. The women won the NCAA team title, its third in the last five years, after capturing gold medals in the varsity eight and varsity four and a silver medal in the junior varsity eight. For the third year in a row, the NCAA varsity four that won the gold medal was comprised of all novice rowers.
On the men's side, Washington also captured two gold medals, in the freshman eight and the pair, at the IRA National Championships. The junior varsity won a silver medal and the varsity won bronze.
Following the season, five current Huskies were named to the U.S. National Team and competed at the World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland. They are John Lorton, Lucas Ahlstrand, Heidi Hurn, Anna Mickelson and coxswain Mary Whipple.

Team Captains: Washington announced its 2002 team captains during Class Day festivities March 30. Senior Jenni Vesnaver (Adelaide, Australia), a fourth-year rower who is currently stroking the junior varsity eight, will be the women's captain. Senior Matt Deakin (San Francisco, Calif.), a fourth-year rower in the varsity eight five was named captain for the men's team.

A Look at the Leaders: Bob Ernst enters his 27th season of coaching at Washington and his 15th year as head coach of the men's team ... Ernst is the only coach in the country to lead both men's and women's crews to national titles ... he is joined by freshman coach Fred Honebein, who directed his crew to a gold medal at the IRA Championships last year ... former Husky rower Bob Cummins, who stroked the varsity eight to a national championship in 1997, joins the men's staff as the varsity intern this season while Dan Garbutt (Princeton) and former UW coxswain Tim Lewis also serve as interns. On the women's side, Jan Harville enters her 15th year as head coach... She was named the 2001 Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sports Star of the Year after leading the Huskies to their third NCAA title in the last five years ...Harville is assisted by novice coach Eleanor McElvaine, who has led an all-freshman crew to a gold medal in the NCAA Championships the last three seasons. Former Husky coxswain Erin O'Connell joins the women's staff for her fifth season as assistant varsity coach while former UW rower Romany McNamara is in her first season as the novice women's intern.

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