Along with the Pac-12 Championships this last Sunday came the reunion of a more than century-long rivalry in men’s rowing between Cal and Washington, currently ranked first and second in the nation.
Cal has been undefeated in each cup of every regatta it has competed in this season, but that perfect steak came to an end in Golden River, California, where the Huskies swept the Bears in all but one race. Cal’s sole win in the Freshman 8+ was not enough to boost itself from the second place standing under Washington. Washington came up on top with Cal placing second overall.
The women’s team, ranked second in the nation, followed the same storyline as the men and were edged out by Washington to lose the Pac-12 title. After a dominant 2017 season, the Bears could not take their success into their second-to-last meet of the year, falling to the Huskies in every race.
“I think the whole team raced really hard. It was a rough race, but we have three weeks to get ready (for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships),” said head men’s crew coach Mike Teti. “We have our work cut out for us.”
At the beginning of the day, the men held a lead by striking first, winning the Freshman 8 race at a time of 5:48.8 versus Washington’s 5:54.9, but then quickly lost ground in the following races.
The Men’s 3V8+ saw the Huskies win at 5:45.1 versus the Bears’ 5:47.5, the 2V8+ — which included Jake Gimbel prize award winner Justin Murphy — had a similar outcome for Washington with 5:40.2 against Cal’s 5:43.2 and the Men’s Varsity 1V8+ ended with Washington’s first-place finish of 5:36.3.
The women could not catch any breaks against the Huskies, who bested them in every single event. They were able to jump out to an early lead in the third varsity eight, but lost their edge in the final 500 meters and lost by nearly 10 seconds.
Although the Pac-12 Championships did not end in favor of the Bears, the season is not over yet for the crew teams. It is still crunch time for the men to prep for the ITA and for the women to ready themselves for the NCAA Championships.
“Now that we’re out of school, we don’t have to worry about anything other than rowing,” Teti said.
Chris Tril covers women’s crew. Contact him at [email protected].