No. 2 Cal women’s crew retains Simpson Cup over No. 1 Washington

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Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. Daffy Duck vs. Bugs Bunny. Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla — all widely known cases where an immovable force meets an unstoppable object. On Saturday, the latest chapter in this series of impeccable battles took place at the Montlake Cut in Seattle, Washington, where the two top women’s crew teams in the nation hit the water for a match to be remembered.

The No. 2 Cal women’s crew team took on top-ranked Washington in their annual bout for the Simpson Cup. It was a split decision in four races, with the Huskies taking two — the First Varsity Four and Second Varsity Eight. But the Bears kicked them where it hurt, winning the V8 and the Cup for the fourth consecutive year.

Despite winning the Cup, Washington made Cal put its money where its mouth was. The Bears swept their competition in the Lake Natoma Invitational on April 9, beating all of their opponents with several seconds to spare. But for the first time this season, Cal was finally bested in the V4.

The boat — manned by seniors Rachel Lether and Hailey Drangsholt, junior Katherine Armstrong, freshman Tara O’Reilly, sophomore bow Alex Floyd and senior coxswain Rachel Lether — failed to close the gap down the stretch and fell to the Huskies by a little under five minutes.

The Bears, however, rallied back in the 3V8. The team swooped in at 6:35.90 to defeat two Husky boats that clocked in at 6:44.96 and 6:55.04. The back-and-forth bout continued in the following race, the 2V8, where Washington healthily defeated Cal by almost 10 seconds, 6:17.30 to 6:25.30.

But ultimately it was the last race — the 1V8 — that secured the Simpson Cup for the Bears. Even with choppy conditions and an early deficit, the team of freshman Juliane Faralisch, sophomores Sydney Payne and sophomore Dana Moffat, juniors Mia Croonquist, Hannah Christopher (Coxswain) and Dorothee Beckendorff, and seniors Rowan McKellar, Inger Kavlie and Kendall Ritter (Bow) was able to make a dramatic comeback and finish in 6:30.71.

Hulk Hogan defeats Andre at Wrestlemania, Bugs humiliates Daffy every Saturday morning and Godzilla destroys his extraterrestrial doppelganger. And after Saturday’s weekend showdown in Oregon, Cal marks its 13th Simpson Cup victory over Washington in 14 seasons.


Chris Tril is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].