Bears Head To East Coast For IRA National Championships
June 1, 2004
This Week: The fourth-ranked Bears travel to New Jersey for the 102nd running of the IRA Collegiate Rowing Championships held on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J. Racing is scheduled to begin Thursday, June 3 at 7 a.m. (EST) with the varsity pairs' heats. Last year, Cal finished third in the varsity eight grand final behind Harvard and Washington. The Bears' second varsity eight (JV) won its third consecutive national title, while the freshman eight captured the silver medal, finishing three seconds behind Princeton. Heading into this year's regatta, the varsity eight is ranked fourth in the country behind Harvard, Washington and Princeton. The second varsity eight is coming off a strong showing at the Pac-10 championships, and will try to win its fourth straight title. Cal's freshman eight will look to cap off its season with a national title and finish the year undefeated.
Gladstone Nearing Record: Varsity head coach Steve Gladstone is looking to make news this weekend. Currently, Gladstone ranks second in all-time varsity championships with 10 IRA Challenge Cup titles, behind only Charles 'Pop' Courtney, who won 11 titles at Cornell between 1901 and 1915. With his next IRA title, Gladstone will sit atop the list with the legendary Cornell coach.
Before coming to Cal in 1973, Gladstone served as the freshman coach at Princeton for a year, and then moved on to coach the Harvard Lightweight men. In 1980, Gladstone, left Cal to become the Director of Rowing Operations at Brown.At Brown, Gladstone led the Bears to four Eastern Sprints titles, five IRA titles and two National Collegiate Rowing Championship titles. In 1993 and '94, Gladstone's crews completed the 'triple crown' with victories in each of these regattas - a feat that had never been accomplished.
Gladstone returned to Cal in 1997 and immediately led the Bears to a bronze medal at the IRAs. Then, two years later, Gladstone's varsity eight catapulted to the top, winning its first of four straight national championships.
Bears at the IRAs: Since 1999, the Bears have been a dominant force at the IRAs, winning four straight national titles from 1999-02 and a bronze medal in 2003. The second varsity eight has won four titles in the past five years, including three straight from 2001-03. Cal's freshmen have been right in the thick of things, as well. They have finished in the top three four out of the past five years, including a gold medal performance in 2000. The varsity four won two straight national titles in 2001 and 2002, and finished fourth in last year's grand final.
The Bears have won a total of 14 gold medals, six silver medals and seven bronze medals at the national championships since 1921. No other school has won as many national titles as Cal in that span of time. The next closest university is Cornell with 11 titles, including four in a row from 1955-58. Wisconsin has won seven titles since 1921, followed by the University of Pennsylvania, which has won six championships.
The Competition: Besides Cal, this year's regatta features the fastest boats in the country. The field includes, among others, No. 1 ranked and defending champion Harvard, Pac-10 champion Washington, No. 3 ranked Princeton and No. 5 Northeastern.Harvard is coming off a dominating performance at the Eastern Sprints, where the Crimson finished five seconds ahead of second-place Princeton. Wisconsin is also a strong contender this year, as the Badgers return three oarsmen from last year's varsity eight that placed fourth in the grand final. Wisconsin heads into this year's regatta on the heels of a fifth-place finish at the Eastern Sprints.
Pac-10 Championships Recap: The Golden Bears finished second in the team competition at the 2004 Pac-10 Rowing Championships May 16 on Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova, Calif. The varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four all finished second behind top-seeded Washington in their respective grand finals. The freshman eight won its second straight Pac-10 title.
In the varsity eight race, the Bears built a quick lead on Washington in the first 500 meters, and held the lead through 1500 meters. But at that point, the Huskies made their move and quickly began to challenge the Bears. Over the final few strokes, Washington took the lead and finished three seconds ahead of Cal.
The second varsity eight and varsity four also finished behind the Huskies in their respective races. The second varsity eight finished eight seconds behind Washington, while the varsity four came in 12 seconds behind the Huskies.The Bears' freshman eight continued its hot streak, finishing a commanding nine-seconds ahead of second-place Washington State.
IRA Projected Lineups:
IRA 2004 Seeding
Varsity Eight:1. Harvard2. Washington3. California4. Princeton5. Navy6. Northeastern7. Wisconsin8. Oregon State
JV Eight:1. Harvard2. Washington3. Cornell4. Wisconsin5. California6. Brown7. Princeton8. Navy
Freshman Eight:1. Harvard2. California3. Brown4. Princeton5. Cornell6. Pennsylvanis7. Yale8. Stanford
Thursday Racing Schedule (all times EST)Varsity Eight Heats(1st advances to semis, rest advance to Thurs. Repechage begining at 5:24 p.m.)
Heat 1 (7:36 a.m.): Syracuse, UNC, Wisconsin, Washington, Rutgers, YaleHeat 2 (7:48 a.m.): Marist, URI, Oregon State, Harvard, Stanford, GeorgetownHeat 3 (8:00 a.m.): Columbia, Boston U., Princeton, Navy, Dartmouth, CornellHeat 4 (8:12 a.m.): Temple, Pennsylvania, Northeastern, California, Virginia, BrownJV Eight Heats(1st advances to semis, rest advance to Thurs. Repechage begining at 4:36 p.m.)
Heat 1 (8:24 a.m.): Rutgers, Minnesota, Washington, Princeton, Michigan, Oregon StateHeat 2 (8:36 a.m.): MIT, Boston U., Cornell, Brown, Ithaca, MaristHeat 3 (8:48 a.m.): Syracuse, Yale, California, Wisconsin, VirginiaHeat 4 (9:00 a.m.): Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Harvard, Navy, DrexelFreshman Eight Heats(1st advances to semis, rest advance to Thurs. Repechage begining at 3:48 p.m.)
Heat 1 (9:12 a.m.): MIT, Marietta, Yale, California, Northeastern, GeorgetownHeat 2 (9:24 a.m.): Michigan, Boston U., Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, HobartHeat 3 (9:36 a.m.): St. Joseph's, Coumbia, Cornell, Princeton, Wisconsin, SyracuseHeat 4 (9:48 a.m.): Oregon State, Washington, Brown, Pennsylvania, Navy, PurdueMen's Open Four Heats(1st advances to final, rest advance to Fri. repechage begining at 8:00 a.m.)
Heat 1 (11:48 a.m.): Wisconsin A, Michigan A, Dartmouth, Stanford, Cornell A, GeorgetownHeat 2 (12:00 p.m.): Cornell B, California, Navy, Harvard A, Brown, Harvard BHeat 3 (12:12 p.m.): Wisconsin B, MIT, Michigan B, Pennsylvania, Princeton
Friday's Schedule7:00 a.m. Women's Lightweight Heats7:24 a.m. Varsity Four Repechage8:00 a.m. Open Four Repechage8:48 a.m. Freshman Four Semifinals9:36 a.m. Varsity Four w/o Repechage11:12 a.m. Varsity Eight Semifinals12:00 p.m. JV Eight Semifinals12:48 p.m. Freshman Eight Semifinals1:36 p.m. Varsity Four Semifinals2:24 p.m. Women's Lightweight Repechage