UW Rowers Set Stage for IRA Grand Finals

May 31, 2002

Camden, New Jersey - The Washington men's rowing team set the stage for the final day of racing in the 2002 season and a shot at four national titles as it won all three of its semi-final heats on the second day of competition at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships on the Cooper River. The Huskies varsity eight, freshman eight and varsity four all posted victories and earned favorable lane assignments for the grand finals while the junior varsity eight earned a day of rest after winning its opening round heat Thursday and advancing directly to the grand final.

The premier race of the national championship regatta, the Varsity Challenge Cup, boasts a Pac-10 flavor and a familiar look for the Huskies. Washington's varsity eight drew lane three for the championship draw and will race alongside three-time defending IRA champion California in lane four. Oregon State joins the West Coast crews in its first IRA grand final appearance, after finishing third in its semi-final race. In addition, the field features Eastern Sprints champion Wisconsin, whom the Huskies defeated in a dual race in Seattle back on April 20 and a United States Naval Academy crew led by former Washington coxswain Rick Clothier (UW '65), who was a freshman coach at Washington under legendary leader Dick Erickson. Rounding out the field is Princeton, a crew that finished second in its semi-final after a tight three-boat battle that included Navy and Northeastern, who got left out of the final with its fourth place finish.

The Varsity Challenge Cup, which was first awarded in 1898, is the final race of the regatta, at 4 p.m. EST. Washington advanced by winning the first semi-final, covering the 2,000-meter course in a time of 5 minutes, 37.42 seconds, six seats ahead of Wisconsin at 5:39.07 and Oregon State at 5:41.46. The second semi-final did not take place until an hour and a half later as two crews, California and Northeastern both had equipment breakage within the 150-meter allowable margin. Both schools were allowed time to fix broken foot boards and re-start the race at the later time. Top-ranked California prevailed, winning it 5:38.53 while a fierce battle for the final two spots raged behind the Bears. Princeton, which caught a 'crab' at the 1,000-meter mark but successfully recovered, was second at 5:40.02, followed by Navy, surprising everyone out in lane one, at 5:40.19, and a dejected Northeastern crew at 5:40.3.

'It's going to be some great racing tomorrow,' Washington coach Bob Ernst said. 'We talk about this day all year long. There aren't going to be any guessing games out there. Everybody knows exactly what they need to do.'

Washington last won the Varsity Challenge Cup in 1997, when it swept the varsity, junior varsity and freshman eight grand finals. The Huskies, who have won the Cup 11 times, first captured it in 1923.

Washington's undefeated freshman eight aims for its second consecutive Steward's Cup Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Huskies, who cruised to a length and one-half victory in their semi-final, also hope to complete a second consecutive perfect season. Washington's freshman class crews have not lost a race since a silver medal finish at the 2000 IRA.

The freshman grand final this year will feature the Huskies in lane three, along with Dartmouth in lane one, Princeton in two, California in four, Michigan in five and Navy, coached by former Husky oarsman Chris Allsopp (UW '76) in lane six.

Racing in an increasing tailwind, the first-year Huskies led from start to finish and finished in 5:46, a length and a half ahead of Michigan at 5:49.42 and Dartmouth at 5:51.8. The Oregon State freshmen, just a few strokes away from earning a grand final appearance with a third place finish, caught a crab in the final 200-meters of the race and ended up in last place. California (5:47.02) won the second semi-final by a length and a half, ahead of Princeton (5:51.21), who was a deck up on Navy (5:52.7).

The junior varsity eight races for the Kennedy Challenge Cup at 2 p.m. The crew will attempt to earn Washington's 11th Cup, features four senior-class oarsmen along with three rowers and the coxswain in the sophomore class who won a gold medal as freshmen last year. This year the crew tallied a photo finish victory over Cornell in their heat Thursday, to advance directly to the grand final. Washington, in lane four, will be joined by Wisconsin in one, Princeton in two, California in three, Cornell in five and Brown in six.

The varsity four started the day for Washington when it won its semi-final heat with an open water victory over California, at 6:24.01 to the Bears' 6:28.25. The crew, which will challenge for its grand final at 11 a.m., features stroke Jeff Jorgensen and three seat Andy Altman, who won a gold medal in the pair race at the 2001 IRA.

Complete regatta results may be viewed at www.row2k.com. and www.IRARegatta.com.

IRA Regatta Schedule
Saturday, June 1 (all times EST)
Varsity four - 11:00 a.m.
Steward's Cup (freshman eight) - 1:30 p.m.
Kennedy Challenge Cup (junior varsity) - 2:00 p.m.
Varsity Challenge Cup (varsity eight) - 4:00 p.m.

100th IRA Regatta (Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships)
Cooper River (2,000-meters)
Camden, New Jersey
Sunny, hot and humid, increasingly strong tailwind throughout morning

Day 2 - Semi-final Results

Men's Varsity EightFirst, second and third place from semi-finals one and two advance to grand final Saturday.Semi-final 11 California	5:38.532 Princeton	5:40.023 Navy		5:40.194 Northeastern	5:40.35 Cornell	5:43.766 Temple	5:53.31

Semi-final 21 Washington 5:37.422 Wisconsin 5:39.073 Oregon St 5:41.464 Dowling 5:42.595 Michigan 5:45.496 Penn 5:49.21

Freshman EightFirst, second and third place from semi-finals one and two advance to grand final Saturday.Semi-final 11 Washington 5:46.002 Michigan 5:49.423 Dartmouth 5:51.804 Nrtheastern 5:59.955 Rutgers 6:01.366 Oregon St 6:02.30

Semi-final 21 California 5:47.022 Princeton 5:51.213 Navy 5:52.704 Cornell 5:56.285 Brown 5:56.466 Boston U 5:57.35

Varsity Four w/ CoxswainFirst, second and third place from semi-finals one and two advance to grand final Saturday.Semi-final 11 Wisconsin 6:35.502 Army 6:38.663 G Mason 6:42.514 Navy 6:42.535 Princeton 6:44.416 Manhattan 6:46.60

Semi-final 21 Washington 6:24.012 California 6:28.253 Marietta 6:34.134 Ga Tech 6:35.405 Columbia 6:47.806 Minnesota 6:48.00

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