Both the Cal men’s and women’s varsity crews headed up Interstate 5 this weekend to take on Washington in Seattle at the Huskies’ home course in an exciting weekend of racing.
The No. 1 varsity Cal men’s team battled the No. 2 Huskies in the annual Schoch Cup. Washington brought an eight-year win streak to this year’s UW-Cal duel. And the Bears had the unenviable task of attempting to unseat Washington’s four-time defending champion varsity eight, which had not been defeated by another collegiate team in a sprint race since the 2010 season.
The two teams raced each other in four events — the varsity eight, the second varsity eight, the varsity four and the freshman eight. Notably, the Bears started off every race, other than the varsity eight, with a lead over the first 250 meters, showing their proficiency in sprinting. In the premier event, the varsity eight, the Bears managed to extend their lead to about seven seats by the midway point of the race and finished in a time of 5:39, holding off a furious charge by the Huskies, who finished in a time of 5:41.
The Bears were, however, unable to hold onto their early leads in the varsity four and second varsity eight races and eventually fell to the Huskies in both events. Washington captured the second varsity eight in a time of 5:49 compared to the 5:55 time set by Cal, and the Huskies managed to take the varsity four race, finishing in a time of 6:18, two seconds ahead of the Bears.
Cal earned a split in the duel by winning the race between the two freshman eights in an exciting fashion. The Bears once again opened up a significant advantage by the midway point of the race but barely managed to hold off Washington in the last 250 meters as the two boats crossed the finish line with a little more than half a second separating them.
The weekend for the Cal men’s crew ended when the Bears traveled to Corvallis, Oregon, to face Oregon State and swept the Beavers in four events, with an average victory margin of roughly 20 seconds.
The No. 2 Cal varsity women’s team raced the No. 5 Washington varsity women’s team Saturday in Seattle in four events — the varsity eight, the second varsity eight, the third varsity eight and the varsity four. The two teams ended up splitting the races, with the Bears capturing the varsity eight and the third varsity eight and the Huskies taking the second varsity eight and the varsity four.
The two teams opened the duel with the varsity four race, where Washington showed its proficiency in the smaller boat and finished in a time of 7:13 as compared with the 7:19 time of Cal. Washington controlled the second varsity race, never surrendering the small lead it took from the start, and the Huskies finished in a time of 6:30, two and a half seconds ahead of Cal.
In the third varsity eight event, the Bears managed to come back from a small deficit off the start and crossed the finish line in a time of 6:32, while the Huskies finished a bit back with a time of 6:34. Finally, the Bears managed to convert their small early lead in the varsity eight race into a dominating victory, finishing five seconds ahead of the Huskies with a time of 6:25 and earning an overall split of their races against Washington. Still, the Bears took home both the Schoch Cup for men and the Simpson Cup for women.
George Wu covers men’s crew. Contact him at [email protected].