June 1, 2012
CHERRY HILL, N.J. -Full Results
Fourth-ranked California men's crew continued the IRA National Championships Friday at Copper River in Cherry Hill, N.J., with all boats advancing to Saturday's grand finals. The junior varsity eight and freshman eight boats each picked up semifinal wins on Friday.
"Today was a really good day, we have all five of our boats in the finals," head coach Mike Teti said. "I think that's really good for the program. We haven't done that in awhile. That also says a lot about the assistant coaches - Wyatt Allen, Luke Agnini and Patrick Schulkers - who have done a great job. They've all helped out and picked up the slack, especially with me being away a lot. They held it together."
In the freshman eight semis, Cal clocked a first-place time of 6:10.81, 10 seconds better than second-place Brown's time of 6:20.83. After a near seven-second victory on Thursday in the preliminary heats, Cal's freshman eight boat is riding high heading into Saturday's final. Teti said that he thinks the freshmen have been outstanding through the first two days at IRAs.
The Golden Bears go into Saturday's final as the defending national champion after the 2011 freshman boat capped an undefeated season with an IRA Championship last year.
It was a close finish in the JV race. The Bears edged Wisconsin to the finish line, 6:19.47-6:21.0. Brown took third at 6:23.34.
While they did not win their semifinal heats, the varsity eight and varsity four boats each advanced to the grand finals. The varsity eight took third in its race, posting a time of 6:25.35. Top-ranked Washington came in first at 6:14.95 and Boston U claimed second at 6:19.01. A top-three finish in the semifinals was all that was necessary for the Bears to move on.
In addition to the tough competition, the varsity eight had to overcome an unexpected change just prior to the race.
"They changed lanes, and we ended up in an unfavored lane," Teti said. "To see those guys battle conditions and get through to the final was rewarding. In all my years of coaching, I've never been prouder of a group of guys to put it together. We have five sophomores in this varsity. This is a really good learning experience for them. To battle adversity after the tough preliminary heat, the repechage and then to come out today, in not a great lane and knowing the forces are against you, to pull it together like that, they earned that spot in the final. That was very rewarding."
The Bears finished second to the Huskies in the varsity four semis. Cal boasted a time of 7:16.08 behind Washington's 7:10.89.
"On the two fours, we have seven freshmen; it's a really young group," Teti said. "So to see them both make the finals, that was good."
If Cal wants to win its first IRA title since 2010, the Bears' varsity eight boat will have to beat Washington for the first time this season on Saturday, as the team national champion is determined by the winner of the varsity eight grand final.
"Some of these crews like Washington and Harvard have really solid programs," Teti said. "With our young group, I think we're doing a pretty good job. We're pretty excited to race tomorrow, and hopefully we've got something left in the tank."
In addition to the four boats that qualified for the finals on Friday, Cal's open four boat will also compete in a grand final after qualifying for that final on Thursday.
The IRA Championships conclude with the grand finals on Saturday.
2012 IRA Championships Day Two
Varsity Eight Semifinals
Junior Varsity Eight Semifinals
Freshman Eight Semifinals