Sports in Brief — June 3, 2012

For crew, another top finish in season finale

The No. 4 Cal men’s crew team finished fourth at the IRA National Championships this weekend at Copper River in Cherry Hill, N.J., finishing in the top four in five events.

The finish breaks a four-year streak of top-three finishes for the perennially competitive program, which has finished in the top three all but twice in the past decade. After winning four straight championships from 1999-2002, the Bears have now won just two titles in the last seven years, the most recent coming in 2010.

Washington swept all five events in the Grand Finals, but Cal gave the Huskies their closest test. The Bears finished just 1.84 seconds back in the varsity four grand final, one of two second-place finishes for the squad on Saturday.

Cal’s only other second-place finish came in the freshman eight, where the squad finished nearly four seconds back.

The Bears were otherwise outpaced by superior squads, finishing an average of 4.45 seconds out of first.

However, Cal will return seven of eight rowers from their varsity eight boat next season, losing only senior Chris Yeager.

Softball nabs awards as season ends sadly

The No. 1 Cal softball team’s season came to a premature end Sunday with a 5-2 loss to Alabama, but several members of the team will go home with some heavy hardware anyway.

Three players — seniors Valerie Arioto and Jamia Reid, and junior Jolene Henderson — added to their resumes when they were named All-Americans on Wednesday. Arioto was also given the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award on Friday, awarded annually to the most outstanding senior in NCAA softball.

Arioto, also named Pac-12 Player of the Year, finishes the season with some of the gaudiest stats in the nation, hitting .365 with 23 home runs and a 1.538 OPS. But the senior was hardly a factor in the College World Series, garnering seven outs and seven walks without a hit.

Reid finished the season with 51 stolen bases, breaking the record of 48 she set her sophomore year. But the senior’s Division I-leading total wasn’t her only attention-grabbing stat. Reid also led Cal with 88 hits and had a team-high .378 batting average.

Henderson was also named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year.