The blue and gold are in for a taxing weekend with two events occurring simultaneously. The Ebright invitational and the Pac-12 Challenge will take place on both Saturday and Sunday and split the Bears into two separate regattas.
The Bear’s V8+ and 2V8+ crews will be heading for the Pac-12 Challenge in Redwood Shores, and the 3V8+, 4V8+, 5V8+, and Freshmen 8+ boats to the Ebright Invitational at the Oakland Estuary. Pac-12s will consist of all dual races while Ebright will contain both duals and triples.
So far this season, Cal has been charging through all of its competition, and this weekend is not expected to be any different.
At Pac-12s, Cal will race against Northeastern, Wisconsin, Boston and Syracuse. The Bears will come into the races ranked number one with Syracuse, Northeastern, Boston and Wisconsin trailing in that order.
Last season, these events were also hosted the same weekend and had the crews split into similar regattas. Cal swept the Pac 12 challenge, beating Northeastern and Oregon State.
Cal’s V8+ and 2V8+ crews both raced against Northeastern; the V8+ crew finished at 5:33.82 which was 12 seconds faster than Northeastern. Fans are hoping to see this large of a lead this weekend again.
The Bears main concern with the races for Pac-12 should be Syracuse, who is coming into the weekend ranked third.
On the water, Cal is quick to react to the actions of other boats and their increasing speeds or aggressive race paces, but needs to start focusing on being more proactive than reactive. Mastering this quality will increase the leads the Bears have on other crews and help solidify their middle 1000 meters during the races.
The Ebright Invitational on Saturday has six races for Cal split among its crews and three races on Sunday. The Bears will face San Diego, Santa Clara and Orange Coast College.
San Diego and Santa Clara are at the bottom of the rankings for the IRA Men’s Varsity Polls and Orange Coast College did not make the rankings. Even though Cal’s lower boats are in this regatta, fans can expect the blue and gold to conquer these races as well.
At the Ebright invitational last season, the Bears also came in first with their 4V8+ , 5V8+, and 6V8+ crews. The teams in question were San Diego and Santa Clara, making Orange Coast a new experience for the Bears in these events.
These will be the first serious races of the season for the blue and gold, and they will really show what the crews are capable of in comparison to the other teams when in the face of higher pressure races.
“The San Diego Classic we had one race a day so it wasn’t too hard on the bodies, but this weekend, we have three races in two days so it will be a lot more hard on the bodies,” graduate student Ollie Maclean said. “Going into this weekend, we really need to take care of our bodies. Recovery, sleep, nutrition, and hydration will be key to be prepared.”
The Bears will be facing east coast schools in all of their races at the Pac-12 Challenge and will have to be mindful that they haven’t raced these teams before this season. Cal has dominated the waters compared to other California teams and will have to keep its energy and focus up if it is looking to continue its streak.
“It will be really cool to race against east coast schools,” said Maclean. “It’s a cool opportunity for them to come out here and race us. We didn’t go to the Head of the Charles last year in October, so we don’t really know where we lay in the pecking order.”
The races this weekend will be a good opportunity for the blue and gold to see how fast they truly are against other teams and how well equipped they are to compete.