Three Washington Crews Win Titles, Varsity Eight Takes Silver

June 7, 2008

CHERRY HILL, N.J. - Three Washington crews won national titles and the other two placed second, including the varsity eight that lost to Wisconsin during the final day of the men's Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) championships on the Cooper River.

The three event championships equaled last year's take as the most ever for the Huskies' fleet of crews. UW has come home with a trio of IRA trophies on seven occasions. The three victorious boats continued a streak that has seen at least one Washington crew win a national championship during each of the last eight years.

2008 Second Varsity Eight National Champions

The Huskies won the second varsity championship for the fourth time in the last five years. UW's varsity four and freshman four boats also garnered gold on Saturday.

All five Husky crews received medals as the varsity eight and freshman eight crews collected silvers. The five, first or second place finishes enabled Washington to capture the Ten Eyck Trophy, honoring the regatta's overall points leader. The Huskies were overall winners for the second straight season. UW amassed 214 points, seven more than the 207 tallied by second-place California. Wisconsin was third (191), Harvard fourth (157) and Brown fifth (150).

The defending champion Huskies came up short in the featured race, falling four seats behind undefeated and second-ranked Wisconsin. That was the first loss for the top-ranked UW varsity eight since the 2006 IRA grand final, halting an 18-race winning streak.

Despite temperatures in the 90s and humidity pushing the heat index over 100 degrees, the varsity eight race was fast. The Huskies set the pace early, streaking out to a three-seat lead in the opening 500 meters. UW and California were racing for the fifth time this season and they battled over the second 500, with Wisconsin staying slightly back.

The Badgers made a strong move with 750 meters to go that put away the Golden Bears. The Huskies held firm a few seats back, but were unable to respond with a sprint to overtake Wisconsin.

At the finish, the Badgers crossed the line in 5-minutes, 31.17-seconds to win their first varsity eight national championship since 1990. The Huskies clocked a second-place mark of 5:32.89, shaving seven seconds off their fastest time of the year.

California finished a distant third place in 5:39.02, Northeasten was fourth (5:42.39), Stanford fifth (5:43.32) and Columbia sixth (5:44.56).

Wisconsin is the fifth different national champion in the last four years, as Washington (2007), California (2006) and Harvard (2005) won the previous three titles.

The Huskies were impressive in winning the second varsity crown. They led from wire-to-wire, finishing with a six-seat triumph.

UW clocked a time of 5:39.30 over the 2,000-meter course and Cal was second in 5:41.53. Wisconsin had a third-place time of 5:43.92.

2008 Varsity Four National Champions

The freshman eight grand final was a repeat of Friday's semifinal, with California overtaking the Huskies and edging them at the finish. The Bears' winning time was 5:37.37 and UW crossed the line in 5:37.88.

Junior Leah Downey, from Seattle Prep High School, directed a Husky four-oared entry to the gold medal for the second straight season. Last year she won with an open four crew that included two freshmen. This year, she guided the varsity four to the national crown.

The Huskies jumped out of the blocks and held a three-quarter boat length margin for the first half of the race. Marist drew even and the top-two boats rowed together until UW surged ahead at the finish line. The Huskies finished in 6:19.96 and Marist in 6:20.74. Cornell placed third in 6:23.51.

One championship trophy that won't immediately make it into the UW case is the freshman four award. The Huskies earned the honor, but the traveling trophy wasn't available. The Huskies will receive the trophy with a Berkeley postmark as last year's winner, California, neglected to return it to New Jersey.

Despite coming together as a crew less than three weeks ago, UW's freshman four raced away from the field en route to a course-record of 6:25.93 in that event. The previous best by a first-year four was a time of 6:26.1 established by Minnesota in 1993.

The Husky four started the day off right for the Husky fleet. They were never seriously challenged, owning an open-water advantage most of the way down the course. The winning time was 6:25.93, over four seconds better than runner-up California's mark of 6:30.32. Wisconsin finished third in 6:36.35.

2008 Freshman Four National Champions

Saturday's final was the second true race for this quartet, which won a semifinal Friday and registered the fastest time in Thursday's time trial. The first-year crew did not race during the regular season and only began training as a four in mid May.

The two gold-medal performances continued a heritage of success that has seen the Huskies win at least one national championship in four-oared events during each of the last seven seasons. Washington previously won the varsity four title at the 2003 and 2004 IRA regattas and the open four in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The IRA is the oldest collegiate crew championship in the country, dating back to 1895. It remains the premier event for national rowing honors for college men. This year's regatta features 1,312 athletes in 184 crews, representing 51 colleges.

2008 Men's Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Cooper River; Cherry Hill, N.J.
(all races were 2,000 meters)

1, Washington, 214
2, California, 207
3, Wisconsin, 191
4, Harvard, 157
5, Brown, 150
6, Northeastern, 148
7, Yale, 140
8, Cornell, 138
9, Princeton, 121
10, Stanford, 106
11, Navy, 96
12, Columbia, 68
13, Oregon State, 65
14, Syracuse, 63
15, Boston University, 47


Varsity Eight
1, Wisconsin, 5:31.17
2, Washington, 5:32.89
3, California, 5:39.02
4, Northeastern, 5:42.39
5, Stanford, 5:43.32
6, Columbia, 5:44.56

     UW lineup: cox-Katelin Snyder, stroke-Will Crothers, 7-Heath Allen, 6-Jessiah Johnson, 5-Simon Taylor, 4-Blaise Didier, 3-Roko Svast, 2-Toby Dankbaar, bow-Lowell Neal.

Second Varsity Eight
1, Washington, 5:39.30
2, California, 5:41.53
3, Wisconsin, 5:43.92
4, Harvard, 5:49.23
5, Orange Coast, 5:51.22
6, Brown, 5:52.29

     UW lineup: cox-Micah Perrin, stroke-Graham Oglend, 7-Asa Bergdahl, 6-Trevor Mollenkopf, 5-Drew Fowler, 4-Tad McCrea, 3-Andrew Beaton, 2-Steve Full, bow-Bart-Jan Caron.

Freshman Eight
1, California, 5:37.37
2, Washington, 5:37.88
3, Harvard, 5:42.33
4, Yale, 5:44.75
5, Brown, 5:47.37
6, Princeton, 5:48.62

     UW lineup: cox-Alex Chalk, stroke-Hans Struzyna, 7-Noah O'Connell, 6-Nenad Bulicic, 5-Anthony Jacob, 4-Matt Zapel, 3- Ty Otto, 2-Bede Clarke, bow-Trevor Walchenbach.

Varsity Four
1, Washington, 6:19.96
2, Marist, 6:20.74
3, Cornell, 6:23.51
4, California, 6:24.59
5, UCLA, 6:32.92
6, Brown, 6:35.56

     UW lineup: cox-Leah Downey, stroke-Stephen Connolly, 3-Dane Robins, 2-Kit Culbert, bow-David VanBolt.

Freshman Four
1, Washington, 6:25.93
2, California, 6:30.32
3, Wisconsin, 6:36.35
4, Rutgers, 6:39.17
5, Oregon State, 6:40.19
6, Drexel, 6:48.98

     UW lineup: cox-Michelle Darby, stroke-Niles Garratt, 3-Bjoern Sbierski, 2-Tyler Emsky, bow-Chris Rinker.

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