Postseason Begins With Pac-12 Championships
While the building continues, the finished product is near.
The Cal men's rowing team has used the entire spring season as a platform for improvement, its sights set on the postseason all along. The time has come, as the Bears compete at the 2021 Pac-12 Championships on Sunday at Lake Natoma.
"This process that we have talked about has played out and continues to play out," Cal head coach Scott Frandsen said. "This weekend is another important marker in that process. The lineups are starting to come together as we have more time together."
While the real final reveal will be in two weeks at the IRA national championships in Mercer, New Jersey, there's no question Sunday's results are a crucial component of Cal's season. The Bears will look to snap Washington's three-year run as conference champions, which would in turn send a message that they will be a true force to contend with for the national title.
"As long as we manage the next four days, and next 18 days, that progress will hopefully continue to get better."
Cal went undefeated against UC San Diego, Santa Clara, Oregon State and Stanford to begin the season before dropping all but one race to the Huskies on May 1 in Seattle. The Bears' training in the past week and a half has demonstrated that they are perhaps finally past the lingering effects of some injuries to key rowers and ready to improve on the gap that existed between them and Washington when they met up on the Montlake Cut.
"It's been a really good 10 days or so," Frandsen said. "We've definitely got some good work in as guys are getting through exams."
Not only are the Bears spending this week preparing for the conference championships, they are also going through finals. Frandsen said the team's last exam is earlier than usual, which will help with final preparations before Sunday's races.
"It's the struggle of our calendar, but it is what it is," he said. "The messaging started weeks ago for them to be on top of their work so they are not up all night studying during this time and can get in some good training. We seem to have done it better this year and fit in some really good training."
The 2021 Pac-12 Championships begin at 9 a.m. PT and will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network.