Cal rowing looks to take back Pac-12 championship from Washington

Karen Chow/File

The classic rivalry between the Bears and the Huskies, a staple for the Pac-12 Rowing Championships, will reignite this Sunday as Cal’s men’s and women’s rowing teams will both try to snap Washington’s two-year winning streak at the Pac-12s.

For the past 58 years, the men’s Pac-12 Rowing Championships have witnessed a hard-fought struggle between the Bears and the Huskies.

Since 1960, the men’s races have predominantly been won by either No. 4 Cal or No. 2 Washington, with the two schools winning a combined 54 of 58 meets. The Huskies, however, have taken home a majority of the titles, having claimed 38 conference titles to the Bears’ 16 titles.

Since 1990 in particular, Washington and Cal have been the only teams to claim the Pac-12 Championships.

The men’s crews previously met during the season at the 108th annual Cal-Washington dual, where Cal’s varsity eight fell just short and were unable to take home the Schoch Cup.

Since that loss, Cal has been on a comfortable winning streak that has included some sweeps against Stanford and Oregon State.

The Bears’ women’s teams share the same bitter history with the Huskies, as both teams have dominated the race over the past 30 years.

Washington has won 16 of the past 31 conference titles, but Cal has been dominant as of late, winning 11 of the past 15 races.

Despite being ranked lower in national rankings, the Cal’s women’s varsity eight had success against the Huskies at their annual dual in Washington. After beating No. 1 Washington in the Simpson Cup, Cal’s varsity eight also had an impressive showing in Redwood Shores, where it beat No. 2 Stanford in their meet.

With wins over the other two teams in the nation’s top three, the Bears have shown that they have the speed and capability to become this year’s Pac-12 champions. Nevertheless, with the country’s best women’s crews going head to head, this year’s Pac-12 is set to be a competitive one.

The races start at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, and the event will host 10 total races between the men and the women. Both men and women’s varsity four, novice eight, third varsity eight and second varsity eight will be competing. Cal’s men and women varsity eight will be competing after all the other boats to close off this year’s event.

After closing out the Pac-12 Championships, the men will be competing in the weekendlong IRA National Championship Regatta from May 31 to June 2. The women will also be racing on the same weekend in Indianapolis, where they will be defending their NCAA championship and looking to become two-time champions.

John Trevor covers rowing. Contact him at [email protected].