April 27, 2013
SEATTLE - No. 2 California women's rowing and No. 8 Washington split its four races Saturday morning at Seattle's Montlake Cut in a battle of the two national rowing powers, with the Huskies ending the Golden Bears' nine-race winning streak in the varsity eight to capture the Simpson Cup for the first time since 2003.
"Washington was really good today, and I give them a lot of credit," said California head women's rowing coach Dave O'Neill. "It was a great race the entire way, and I was impressed with both crews. We fought hard, but Washington was simply faster, especially the last 500 meters. There was certainly no lack of motivation or preparation for us. This race means a lot to us, and Washington beat the best we had.
"Obviously, we need to do better," O'Neill added. "There are some things with our team that can improve, and we'll be making the necessary adjustments in the weeks ahead."
The Bears won the second varsity eight and varsity four over the Huskies, with Washington taking the novice eight along with its victory in the varsity eight.
Cal took an early lead by a few seats in the first 500 meters of the varsity eight race for the Simpson Cup. The Huskies and Golden Bears staged a good race throughout the course, battling back and fourth through the 1,500-meter mark and were level heading into the final 500 meters. Entering the Montlake Cut, Washington established a lead and built on that to the finish, winning by less than two seconds, 6:24.0 to 6:26.4, to claim the Simpson Cup.
The Simpson Cup is awarded annually to winner of the varsity eight race between Cal and Washington. The Simpson Cup trophy was donated in 2003 by longtime Husky Crew supporters Hunter and Dottie Simpson, whose daughter Anne rowed at Cal. The Simpson Cup replaces the Big Oar trophy that was retired in 2002 after 22 years.
The Bears captured the second varsity eight race by seven seconds over Washington, 5:57.0 to 6:04.4, establishing an early two-seat lead and settling into a strong rhythm to pull away towards the finish. The 2,000-meter course was shorted to 1,750 meters due to rolling whitecaps and gusts up to 14 mph at the start of the course.
In the novice eight, Washington established an early lead and continued to pull away throughout the race, winning by eight seconds over Cal, 6:50.3 to 6:58.7.
Saturday's racing got underway with the varsity four at Montlake Cut. Washington was up a length in the first 500 meters. Cal slowly pulled the Huskies back but did not get even until the 1,500-meter mark. Cal stayed sharp and clean the last 500 meters to take the win by less than two seconds, 7:25.6 to 7:27.1.
The Bears swept all four races against the Huskies each of the past two seasons in the annual dual, before splitting with Washington this season. Washington leads the all-time series between the Pac-12 rivals in the varsity eight, 23-16.
Cal returns to Redwood Shores next Saturday, May 4, for the Big Row against Stanford. You can follow the Golden Bears throughout the season using Cal's official Twitter handle @CalWCrew.
Cal lineup: Rebecca Moll (coxswain), Clara Nowinski, Savannah Eldridge, Cara Bohmann, Jasmine Rossi-DeVries, Kristine Sanders, Genevieve Knock, Katherine Findlay and Katie Bird.