April 14, 2012
GOLD RIVER, Calif. -
The No. 8 California women's rowing team nearly swept every race it competed in during the first day of the Lake Natoma Invitational at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. The varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four all picked up two victories on the day. Those three boats and the freshman eight advanced to Sunday's finals.
"The team had a great day," head coach Dave O'Neill said. "All boats raced with poise and raced quite well. We expected to be challenged early in the races, and that was definitely the case in some races. It was good to see our crews stay internal and move away in the second half. We had a lot of boats and nearly all of our athletes had the chance to compete, and we appreciate the opportunity. I'm proud of everyone. This was an important step. Tomorrow will be a tough day, so we need to be at our best."
Strong performances could go a long way for the Bears since this event will have major implications on pairings for the NCAA Championships at the end of May. The Lake Natoma Invitational is one of the few inter-regional regattas in the regular season.
The varsity eight picked up two decisive wins on Saturday. In the morning, they topped Pac-12 foe Washington State by over 12 seconds, 6:32.5-6:44.9. Later in the afternoon, the Bears top boat handled Indiana, 6:44.5-6:52.5.
"Both the morning and afternoon races were good, and we tried some different things," O'Neill said. "It was great to be back at full strength after Michelle (Leason) and Papa (Hipango) were out back at the crew classic. I think they made a positive difference for our entire team, and we are definitely heading in the right direction."
The largest margin of victory went to the freshman eight. In their only race of the day, the novice boat defeated second-place Texas by over 15 seconds, 6:57-7:12.4.
Cal raced primarily against Washington State and Tulsa in the morning, and Indiana and Texas in the afternoon session.
In Sunday's finals, the Bears will primarily be competing against Wisconsin and Stanford.
2012 Lake Natoma Invitational
Saturday Morning California Results
Second Varsity Eight
Second Freshman Eight
Saturday Afternoon California Results
Second Varsity Eight
Third Varsity Eight