If rowing races were determined strictly by paper, the Bears did exactly what they were predicted to do based on the rankings coming into the weekend.
On the men’s side, Cal came into the Pac-12 Championships ranked second to Washington after getting beaten down by the Huskies at the teams’ dual. The women, interestingly enough, were in the same exact position, as they were ranked No. 2 in the nation behind Washington prior to the weekend.
With the results of the weekend’s events in the books, those rankings are almost surely going to remain the same after the Bears came second to the Huskies in both men’s and women’s competitions. The overall team standings saw Cal’s women finish 9.5 total points behind Washington, while the men fell by 7.
After an unscored men’s varsity four race, Cal started the day strong with a win in the first scored event of the day, as they topped the field in the freshman eight race. The Bears stuck through a comeback attempt by Washington, giving them their third freshman eight win in a row at the Pac-12 Championships.
Washington responded by racing to victories in both the third and second varsity eight races, while the Bears claimed second in the two races by a tight margin.
The highlight event — the varsity eight —was a rematch of just a few weeks ago, when Cal lost to Washington by almost four seconds during their head-to-head race. The two boats were neck and neck for almost the entirety of the first half, but in the end, the Bears’ time of 5:52.69 was outmatched by Washington’s 5:51.24.
The women, who have finished in the top two overall at the Pac-12 Championships in 10 of the past 11 years, placed second in the third and second varsity eight races, along with a second-place finish in the freshman eight. All losses were to the hands of Washington’s women, who swept all of their races on the day.
For the varsity eight finale, Cal fell behind early, and even with a strong surge near the end of the race, they were unable to regain positioning and placed third to Washington and Stanford.
The women’s crew will begin preparation for the NCAA Championships, which will be held May 25-27, while the men will ready up for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta on June 1-3.
Shailin Singh covers crew. Contact him at