May 18, 2008
GOLD RIVER, Calif. - California's No. 8-ranked varsity eight was edged by No. 1 Washington in the men's final race of the day, and the Golden Bears finished in second place overall to the Huskies at the Pac-10 Rowing Championships on a hot Sunday afternoon at Lake Natoma. Cal took second to Washington in all four races to compile 63 points to Washington's 72. Stanford was third (42).
Unlike in the women's side of the Pac-10 meet, there were no morning heats on Sunday; the men went straight to the finals.
Cal head coach Steve Gladstone, who coaches his Bears to gradually improve throughout the season and peak at the end of the year, was impressed with how his team performed in the conference regatta. The varsity eight in particular rebounded after falling to Stanford in the Big Row on May 3 and rowed well against a talented Washington squad.
"I wish it hadn't been quite this gradual," Gladstone said. "But today the race the varsity eight put down was very strong. If we keep focus, we should be able to shave a couple more seconds off over these next couple of weeks so that we'll be in a position to be at our strongest at nationals.
"The varsity laid down a very solid race that was essentially even for the last 20 strokes. Washington had a wonderful sprint, and that got to us. The second varsity eight has another gear that they'll find in the next couple of weeks."
The Cal varsity eight led much of the middle part of the race, until the Huskies' surge caught the Bears within the final 500 meters and Washington won, 5:52.1-5:53.4. Cal beat third-place Stanford (5:57.7) by more than four seconds in their second meeting this month.
"It felt good," Cal junior Brandon Shald said of topping the Cardinal. "It comes down to the work we've been doing. We've been working hard the last couple of weeks. The boat's coming together rhythmically. It's really starting to feel easy, which it didn't when we raced Stanford earlier in the year. Now we're a little more free and have a little more quickness and ease."
The Bears also placed second to Washington in the second varsity eight, 6:00.9-6:03.7, freshman eight, 5:58.6-6:04.8, and varsity four, 6:47.3-6:52.6.
Cal will next compete in the IRA Regatta June 5-7 on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J.
"I'm very excited about our prospects," Gladstone said. "But that being said, I want to make something very clear: Just because we're showing improvement to date, that doesn't mean success is going to come in and of itself. We have to be very attentive to our work."
Pac-10 Rowing Championships
1. Washington 72 points. 2. California 63. 3. Stanford 42*. 4. Oregon State 42. 5. UCLA 34. 6. Washington State 18. 7. USC 13. 8. Oregon 4.
Men's Varsity 8
Men's 2nd Varsity 8
Men's Frosh/Novice 8
Men's Varsity 4