April 28, 2012
REDWOOD SHORES -Racing with the memory of Jill Costello in the back of its mind, the top-ranked California women's rowing team swept No. 12 Stanford Saturday afternoon at Redwood Shores. The Golden Bears successfully defended the Lambert Cup with their varsity eight victory over the Cardinal. It was the third year in a row that Cal has won the Lambert Cup.
The Bears are heading into the Pac-12 Championships on a hot streak. Cal currently garners the top spot in the national rankings after its performances in the last three weeks. The Bears have swept Washington and Stanford after winning four of five grand finals at the Lake Natoma Invitational.
"We knew Stanford would be fast today, and they were, especially their top two eights," head coach Dave O'Neill said. "They looked quite good, so I'm happy with the results. Our crews raced well and got the desired result, but everyone knows there's room for improvement. We have some work to do in order to be ready for the championship season."
The Bears donned their aquamarine uniforms once again in honor of Costello, as Cal raced as Team Jill on Saturday. In addition, the Cal men and both Stanford teams each wore their own Team Jill uniforms to share the tribute of the special day. Costello's parents and her dog, Jack, were present, as well.
"The team is always so honored to race as Team Jill, and we hope she's proud of us," O'Neill said. "I realize that many of the women who are now on our team never knew Jill, but she has clearly touched them in many positive ways."
Cal is now 26-11 all-time in the dual series against Stanford that dates back to 1976. In addition, in the last three duals against the Cardinal, Cal has won 11 of the 12 races.
In the varsity eight race, Cal topped Stanford by three seconds, 6:20.3-6:23.3. The Bears jumped out to an early lead, and while the Cardinal crept back in late and made it close, Cal made it to the finish line first.
The Cal freshman "A" boat beat Stanford to the finish line with a time of 6:53.58 to the Cardinal's 7:15.05. In another decisive win, Cal's varsity four beat Stanford by 19 seconds, 7:20.4-7:39.5. The junior varsity eight also picked up a near four-second victory.
Following the races and the trophy presentation, O'Neill presented the first Jill Costello Scholar Award. The award is given to the student-athlete who best represents the spirit of Jill by displaying courage, perseverance and a positive outlook when faced with adversity. Lofman was the first winner of the award. The senior team captain was brought to tears when she received the honor.
Cal has next week off as it prepares for the Pac-12 Championships on Sunday, May 13, at Lake Natoma.
2012 Big Row
Junior Varsity Eight