With Cal football’s “Big Game” against Stanford constantly being Cal athletics’ biggest matchup of the year, fans tend to overlook the “Big Row,” the annual crew race that pits Cal against Stanford. But keeping their reputations as two of the top teams in the country, the Cal men’s and women’s crew teams competed as if the entire world was watching, sweeping the Cardinal to end the 2017 regular season.
“Now the real season starts,” said Cal men’s head coach Mike Teti. “You got the Pac-12, then the National Championships.”
Starting with the men’s freshman eight, Cal beat Stanford by 14 seconds with a time of 5:52.57. The men’s second varsity eight followed suit with a time of 5:45.70, beating out the Cardinal by a hefty 23 seconds. Men’s varsity eight won with a time of 5:41.63, a seven-second margin from Stanford, to sweep all of the races and secure the coveted Schwabacher Cup, defending it for the fourth year in a row.
With the Pac-12 Championships around the corner, the most anticipated rival for the men’s team will be last week’s competitor Washington. Even though the Bears upset the Huskies in the Schoch Cup, Teti knows it’s no time to rest just yet.
“We have a hard race against them and last time we came out in triumph, but it was close the whole way,” Teti said. “They’re a great program, really well-coached, really good athletes. So it’ll be a hard race.”
Cal’s women reclaimed the Lambert Cup with its varsity eight win over the Cardinal the same day. Coming in at 6:16.88, the team eked out a win with just about three seconds to spare. The Bears also came in first the second and third varsity eights, as well as the first and second varsity fours. With both teams donning their “Team Jill” uniforms, Cal crew will be entering the postseason on a high note.
Not even 24 hours will pass from the last day of finals week at Cal before the Pac-12 Championships and, for the men, the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships. With its 2016 Pac-12 victories in the divisions of varsity eight, junior varsity eight, and freshman eight on the line, Teti is looking forward to his team’s performance.
“They train all year,” Teti said. “You have some setbacks, you make improvements, you’re excited to see what the final product is.”