For the tenth year in a row, the Cal women’s crew team stood tall at the NCAA Championship podium. The Bears came in second place in West Windsor, New Jersey, behind Washington — the team’s biggest threat heading into the weekend.
With this year’s finish, the Bears have also placed in the top two for the past five seasons.
Cal was expecting a battle from Washington heading into the championships. The Huskies and the Bears were ranked first and second in the nation, respectively, before facing off at the Pac-12 championship. When it was all said and done, Cal was looking up at Washington’s from the second-place podium.
Even with two weeks to prepare and a chip on their shoulder, the Bears could not contain the Huskies. Washington swept all three boats Sunday, racking up a total of 132 points while managing the first sweep in NCAA Championship history. Cal came in a distant second with 123 and Michigan scored 112 for third place.
During the first race, the first Varsity 4, Cal and Washington were established as the clear favorites in the regatta. The Bears and Huskies were neck-and-neck during the first 500 meters while the rest of the competition fell further and further behind.
The winner grew more apparent as the race went on, with Washington crossing the line at 7:07.10 and the Bears coming in four seconds later.
The second Varsity 8 race provided more of the same story, with Cal coming just within a couple of seconds of first place. This time, however, it was the Michigan boat that was trailing in second place Washington from the get-go.
Cal played catch up with the Wolverines for the first 1000 meters before evening out at 1500 meters. In one final push, the Bears jettisoned themselves ahead of Michigan for second place with a time of 6:53.31.
In the Varsity 8 finale, the Bears had their worst placement of the day. Washington and Cal, as well as Stanford, created separation early on from the rest of the pack, but it was ultimately the Cardinal that would grab second place behind Washington. Cal finished in third at 6:40.07.
Chris Tril covers women’s crew. Contact him at [email protected].