May 21, 2013
BERKELEY- California men's crew will compete in the 111th annual Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships, Friday through Sunday, May 31 - June 2, at Gold River in Lake Natoma.
A total of five Cal boats will participate at the IRAs - varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity four, open four, freshman eight. The winner of the varsity eight grand final is recognized as the IRA national champion, regardless of the results in the other races.
Joining Cal in the 24-crew varsity eight field are Pac-12 crews Washington, Stanford and Oregon State, along with Boston University, Brown, Holy Cross, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Drexel, Florida Institute of Technology, George Washington, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Harvard, Northeastern, Princeton, Syracuse, Navy, San Diego, Penn, Wisconsin and Yale.
Along with the three Pac-12 crews, Cal has faced fellow IRA varsity eight entries Wisconsin, Penn and Gonzaga this season. The Bears defeated Wisconsin at Redwood Shores in the Stanford Invitational and captured the Copley Cup against Penn and Gonzaga in the San Diego Crew Classic.
Cal has won 16 IRA national championships, most recently in 2010 and four years earlier in 2006. The Bears own the second most national crowns behind Cornell (26). Cal captured four-straight titles from 1999-2002. The 1999 championship was the school's first in the varsity eight since 1976.
Cal's varsity eight has won six of the last 13 IRA titles and placed outside of the top-four just once (fourth in 2012) in that 13-year span.
Last year, the Golden Bear varsity eight placed fourth in the grand final at Copper River in Cherry Hill, N.J., with the freshman eight and the varsity four boats each finishing second in their grand finals.
The IRA National Championships were last held in Lake Natoma in 2009 where Cal placed second in the varsity eight grand final and won the varsity four grand final.
The Golden Bears placed second in this past Sunday's Pac-12 Championships, winning a conference title in the varsity four in Gold River at Lake Natoma, the same venue of this year's IRA National Championships.
Fans can follow the Bears as they prepare for the IRAs and keep track of the event with updates throughout the event on their official Twitter handle @CaliforniaCrew.