On Saturday, April 6, both Cal men’s and women’s rowing teams are meeting to participate in 2019’s San Diego Crew Classic. Both crews were wildly successful in last year’s event, with the men’s team taking first place in the Men’s Collegiate 2V Sharp Memorial Cup and the Men’s Collegiate Varsity Copley Cup Invitational, while the women’s team dominated both the Women’s Collegiate Varsity Jessop-Whittier Cup Invitational and took home the Women’s Collegiate 2V Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Trophy.
The teams’ hard work and training over the winter recess have served them well, as both have taken their premier races by storm. In Redwood Shores, California, Cal women’s varsity eight and second varsity eight both earned first place in three races at the Pac-12 Invitational last weekend. Similarly, the men swept the Lake Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational and the UC Challenge Cup in March.
As last year’s NCAA champions, the women are looking to continue their winning streak and make a statement at this year’s crew classic. Cal will be returning to compete in the Women’s Collegiate Varsity 4+ Karen Plumleigh Cortney Cup, Women’s Collegiate 2V Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Trophy and the Women’s Collegiate Varsity Jessop-Whittier Cup Invitational. The Bears will be tested against crews from the University of Texas at Austin, Washington State, Gonzaga University and the University of Oklahoma, all of whom Cal beat in at the Jessop-Whittier Cup in San Diego last year.
Meanwhile, the men’s team will have four boats on the water and their eyes set on claiming the Copley Cup Invitational, the Derek Guelker Memorial Cup, Men’s Collegiate 3V and the 2V Sharp Memorial Cup. At the Copley Cup, Cal is going head to head against Yale, whose varsity squad won the national championship in the last two years.
Head coach of men’s crew Scott Frandsen sees this race against Yale as a “good test” to see how the Bears compare early in the season. “It will serve as a confidence booster or a reality check, (but) either way that next morning will be back to work and trying to get faster,” Frandsen said.
Unphased by Yale’s past successes, coach Frandsen is determined to keep his team’s focus on itself and its own work. That said, his optimism persists, as he states that “a lot can change between San Diego and the national championship.”
“Whoever lost San Diego in the last three years has gone on to win the national championship,” Frandsen joked.
With high hopes and winning streaks going into this year’s San Diego Crew Classic, neither the men nor women have the intention of coming in close second. Still early in the season, both teams are eager to learn from this weekend’s races, win or lose, and come back, work harder and tear through the water quicker in the races to come.
John Trevor covers rowing. Contact him at [email protected].