The No. 3 Cal women’s varsity crew team traveled to Gold River near Sacramento, California, for the two-day Lake Natoma Invitational.
The Bears opened up the regatta Saturday in dominating fashion, beating out teams including Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, San Diego, Sacramento State and No. 16 Notre Dame. The varsity eight posted a 6:18 time in the morning race against Notre Dame and Rhode Island, beating out its closest competitor by more than 15 seconds and posting a similar margin in the afternoon race against Gonzaga and Loyola.
The second varsity eight posted times of 6:31 and 6:41 in the morning and afternoon sessions, respectively, again beating out Notre Dame and Rhode Island, while the third varsity eight posted a time of 7:04, six seconds ahead of San Diego and Sacramento State.
In the varsity four event, the lineup of Bridget Konttinen, Katie Kelly, Savannah Eldridge and Katarina Floyd, coxed by Hannah Freeman, raced to a time of 7:16 en route to a five-second victory over Notre Dame in the morning session and a time of 7:36 against the 7:54 time posted by Gonzaga in the afternoon session.
The Bears, however, went the entirety of Saturday’s racing without facing their two toughest opponents at the regatta — No. 6 Stanford and No. 2 Brown — and Cal entered Sunday’s racing dead even with Brown in overall points.
The Bears went head to head with Brown and Stanford in three races, headlined by the varsity eight event. Cal’s lineup comprised Kendall Chase, Ingvild Roenningen, Caileigh Filmer, Mia Croonquist, Jacinta Edmunds, Dorothee Beckendorff, Inger Kavlie, Rowan McKellar and coxswain Lindsay Meltz. Beckendorff returns this season after winning the varsity four championship at the 2014 NCAAs as the Bears look to capture the overall team trophy in 2015.
The varsity eight race, the last race of the regatta for the Bears, would determine the overall winner of the regatta.
The race got off to a fast start as the three crews jockeyed for position, but the Bears managed to slowly increase their lead throughout the 2,000-meter race, eventually nosing out both Stanford and Brown in a time of 6:24, with Stanford capturing second place in a time of 6:29 and edging out Brown’s final time of 6:30.
The Bears also managed to capture the second varsity eight race against Stanford and Brown in a time of 6:32, beating out Brown’s time of 6:34. Still, the Bears fell to both Brown and Stanford in the varsity four race, managing a time of 7:30, 10 seconds off the pace set by Brown.
With their win in the varsity eight event, however, the Bears managed to capture the overall points title at Gold River with 52 points, while Stanford and Brown tied for second with 46 points. The regatta marked the Bears’ first race with rival Stanford as Cal looks to continue gaining speed heading into the Pac-12s and the NCAAs. Notably, both races will take place at the same venue as the Lake Natoma invitational. The Bears look like a legitimate contender, beating out two top-10 opponents.
George Wu covers women’s crew. Contact him at [email protected].