Cal men’s, women’s crew teams win medals in 5 races

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The Cal men’s and women’s crew teams continued to display their talents abroad, as nine men and six women represented their respective nations over the course of the five-day U23 World Championships held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, where the Bears captured medals in a total of five races.

Rising senior Kendall Chase and rising sophomore Mia Croonquist provided the main highlight of the women’s contributions Saturday, thanks to their their gold-medal-winning performance in the four final. The Bears helped the United States record a 6:53.680 first-place finish, ahead of their Cal teammate Caileigh Filmer, a rising sophomore who guided Canada to second place with a time of 6:55.000. Their teammate rising senior Jacinta Edmunds helped Australia place fourth with 6:57.970 — almost a second behind third-place Great Britain.

The four Bears composed part of the Cal varsity eight that won the the 2015 Pac-12 Championship and finished second at the NCAA Championships in the 2014-15 season, and their impressive performances for their respective countries are a precursor to what they could potentially accomplish next season.

Fellow varsity eight rower Rowan McKellar, a rising junior, helped Great Britain claim a silver medal Saturday in the pair final with a 7:40.400 finish. The British boat rowed in at nearly seven seconds behind the American boat, which came out on top with a time of 7:33.640.

Her Cal teammate rising junior Bridget Konittinen rowed with the United States the same day in the lightweight quadruple sculls B final, where she helped the American boat place second with 7:02.430 — almost two seconds behind the first-place Austrian boat.

In the men’s competition, the Bear duo of rising senior Jordan van der Stoep and and rising junior Justin Murphy helped the United States earn silver Sunday in the eight final with a time of 5:36.490. The American boat finished nearly three seconds behind the German boat, which claimed gold with a 5:33.560 finish.

Cal rising sophomore Martin Mackovic helped Serbia claim bronze Sunday in the pair final with a time of 6:28.390. The Serbian boat stroked in behind the Romanian boat, which came out on top by nearly three seconds.

Another rising sophomore, Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk, rowed Poland to a third-place finish in the single sculls final Sunday. In what proved to be one of the closest races of the tournament, Wegrzycki-Szymczyk finished in a time of 6:54.990, narrowly beaten by the Belarusian and Serbian representatives, who recorded times of 6:54.780 and 6:54.910, respectively.

Incoming recruit Marcin Pawlowski helped Poland secure fourth in the quadruple singles final with a time of 5:52.160 on Sunday, and his fellow newcomer Ferdinand Querfeld competed for Austria in the men’s pair final. He helped the boat finish sixth with a time of 6:45.260. Australian representatives Louis Snelson and Jack Cleary rowed for the Australian boat that finished fifth in the coxed four final with a time of 6:28.970 on Saturday.

Lastly, rising junior Kyle Flagg helped the United States record a 6:14.780 in the four final to finish fourth. The American boat rowed in nearly one second behind both the second-place British boat and the third-place Canadian boat.

The Bears’ solid performances in Bulgaria indicate that the men’s and women’s crew teams are making great strides in maintaining their fine form. The experience they gain abroad against tough adversaries will likely help them prepare for what’s in store in the 2015-16 season.

Manny Flores is the assistant sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @manny_0.