Four Pac-12 teams selected for IRA men's rowing championships

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Bob Solorio
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — Men’s rowing teams from CALIFORNIA, OREGON STATE, STANFORD and WASHINGTON have received bids to compete at the 2014 Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships May 30- June 1 at Lake Mercer in West Windsor N.J., the IRA announced Tuesday afternoon.
The IRA Champion is determined by the winner of varsity eight grand final. 
Top-ranked Washington captured its fifth-consecutive Pac-12 title with victories in three of four races at Lake Natoma on May 18, including the varsity eight. The Huskies’ top boat has victories over ranked opponents California (No. 2), Brown (No. 6), Stanford (No. 12), and Oregon State (No. 14) this season. The lone loss in the spring season by the Huskies’ top boat came against Great Britain’s national team, who traveled to Seattle to compete in the 28th Annual Windermere Cup. The three-time defending IRA National Champions are going for their fourth-consecutive IRA title and eighth-straight Ten Eyck award, given to the crew that accrues the highest team score at the event.
California finished second at the Pac-12 Championships, but claimed a victory by 1.6 seconds over Conference champion Washington in the second varsity eight race. The second-ranked Golden Bears spent a majority of the season ranked atop the collegiate polls, and only fell to No. 2 after losing the dual to the Huskies by less than a second—the Bears’ only other defeat of the season. Cal kicked off the 2014 spring campaign with a varsity eight victory at the San Diego Crew Classic to claim their fifth Copley Cup in the past six years. The Bears capped the regular season by avenging a loss against Stanford in last year’s Big Row, emphasizing the victory by completing the sweep of the Cardinal. 
Oregon State received an at-large bid after placing third at the Pac-12 Championships—matching their highest finish in program history. The 14th-ranked Beavers have gone toe-to-toe with four top-15 teams this season, including a finish ahead of then-No. 12 Wisconsin with their top boat at the Stanford Invitational. OSU’s varsity eight noticed another victory over Gonzaga on April 12, and despite losing the varsity eight race, took two of three races from the Cardinal on April 13.
Stanford is coming off of a fourth place finish at the Pac-12 Championships, highlighted by a bronze medal finish in the varsity eight. The Cardinal, ranked 14th in the country, started the season with a sweep at the Davis Invitational in Sacramento and followed that performance with a third-place finish by the varsity eight at the annual San Diego Crew Classic. The other victories came against No. 12 Wisconsin and the University San Diego in the home-hosted Stanford Invitational.
Washington and California lay claim to 16 IRA titles a piece, tied for the second-most of any school. Washington has won all five grand finals at the IRA Championships for two straight-years—the only crew to ever accomplish that feat twice let alone once. 
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