Q&A with Steve Gladstone: IRA Finish 'Very Gratifying'

June 16, 2008

BERKELEY - CalBears.com caught up with California head coach Steve Gladstone after the IRA Regatta earlier this month. Gladstone, who completed his 20th overall season at Cal with the 2008 national regatta, spoke about how his team ended the season and about his athletes' chances of qualifying for the 2008 Olympics. The Cal varsity eight placed third in the Varsity Challenge Cup at IRAs and produced one rower (Marko Marjanovic) currently competing for a berth in Beijing.

CalBears.com: Were you happy with how your varsity eight ended the season?

Gladstone: 'The fact that we were able to medal in that very, very competitive field was very gratifying. That being said, no coach that I know of that wouldn't want to be faster. The j's (junior/second varsity eight) had their best race of the year for silver, and the frosh eight was nipping at Washington to win the gold. We were seven points way from winning the team title.'

CalBears.com: Overall, you had boats in six grand finals at IRAs, including two freshman boats. Does that bode well for the future?

Gladstone: 'No question about it. Our intention is always to have top echelon program. Needless to say it's not easy to achieve, but that's our goal. Year in and year out to be in the very top echelon. In 11 of the past 12 years we've medaled, with five golds and six bronzes. That's unparalleled in collegiate rowing history. In the Pac-10 Conference Championships, out of those 12 years, we have seven Pac-10 titles and five silvers. Each one of those years where we have not been No. 1 we've been striving to be No. 1.'

CalBears.com: The Cal freshman eight won its second straight IRA title and has won four of the last five IRA championships. What does that say about the Cal program and the work by frosh/novice coach Geoff Bond?

Gladstone: 'I think Geoff Bond has done a superb job, an excellent job on all levels. That's exactly the type of performances we need to keep the varsity crews in the top echelon. If you look at our opponents, that's what they're doing. The Washington freshman record is close to our own.'

CalBears.com: Varsity eight rowers Marko Knezevic and Charlie Smith earned All-Pac-10 team honors. Talk about how they performed this season.

Gladstone: 'What those guys have done over their careers at Cal is really remarkable. Those guys are really remarkable people and competitors.'

CalBears.com: Do you think Marko Marjanovic, Jovan Popovic and Goran Todorovic will be able to qualify for the Olympics in Serbia's four?

Gladstone: 'That remains to be seen, but they have a good chance.'

CalBears.com: How proud does it make you to have so many current and former athletes in contention for Olympic berths?

Gladstone: 'It's terrific. We have Elliott Hovey out of California Rowing Club who won the doubles trials. I was just on the phone with Luke Walton, who was in the pair in the last Olympics games for the U.S., and we have Jake Wetzel and Scott Frandsen for Canada. It's enormously satisfying.'

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