May 23, 2012
NCAA Championships Central
The top-ranked California women's rowing team looks for its first NCAA Championship since 2006 when the Golden Bears travel to Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. for the 2012 NCAA Championships. Mercer Lake was the site of Cal's last team national title in 2006, the second of two straight NCAA titles for the Bears.
The Bears are coming off their fifth straight Pac-12 team championship last Sunday at Lake Natoma, where Cal won all four races at the conference meet for the first time in team history. In addition to the conference title, the Bears have not lost a single race since April 15. The varsity eight has won its last six races in a row and the freshman eight and varsity four boats are both undefeated in 2012.
Click here for the NCAA Championships Central home page for more information on race schedules, live updates and more.
Last Year's NCAA Championships
Cal took third at the 2011 NCAA Championships at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. The Bears' varsity four claimed first in its grand final, sweeping all three races it competed in over the weekend. The varsity eight finished fourth and the junior varsity 8+ took third.
Brown won the team title with 85 points. Stanford came in second, also with 85 points, but Brown got the tiebreaker because of the higher finish in the varsity eight grand final. The Bears garnered 83 points for third place.
In the varsity four, Cal moved into first after Virginia jumped out to an early lead. The Bears eventually moved out to a two-second lead that it never relinquished. Cal crossed the finish line at 7:09.60 to Virginia's 7:11.39. The first split when the Cavaliers briefly held the lead was the first time all weekend the Bears' varsity four did not sit in first place.
A Look at the Cal Historically at the National Championships
Last season's third-place finish marked the fourth straight season that Cal placed in the top three and the ninth top-four placing in the last 13 years. The Bears have won the NCAA team title twice in school history (2005, 2006).
Bears Claim Fifth Straight Pac-12 Crown
Two weeks ago, Cal captured its fifth straight Pac-12 Championship at the conference regatta Sunday at Lake Natoma. The Bears swept all four races for the first time ever at the conference meet. Cal claimed the conference crown with 45.5 points. Washington finished second with 31 points.
USC provided the toughest challenge for the Bears in the varsity eight race. Cal edged the Trojans, 6:30.3-6:32.7. Washington took third at 6:32.8. Beginning with the Lake Natoma Invitational, the Cal varsity eight boat has won its last six consecutive races.
The second varsity eight race saw Cal beat second-place Stanford by over three seconds, 6:39.3-6:42.7.
Another close finish came in the freshman eight race, as the Bears topped UCLA by two seconds, 6:47-6:49. Heading into the NCAA Championships, the Cal freshman eight boat has not lost a single race all season.
The Cal varsity four defeated Washington by seven seconds, 7:13.9-7:20.8, to continue its perfect season.
Dave O'Neill was recently named the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association's West Regional Head Coach of the Year for the third straight time. In addition, first-year assistant coach Lincoln LaRoe was tabbed the West Region Assistant Coach of the Year, five Golden Bears - Elise Etem, Paparangi Hipango, Michelle Leason, Rachel Ersted and Agatha Nowinski were named to the CRCA all-region team. It was Etem's second straight year making the team. Ersted and Maggie Simpson were also named Division I Scholar Athletes. Simpson was also a CRCA Scholar Athlete in 2011.
Lowest of Lows to Highest of Highs
Senior Becca Lindquist has had an interesting collegiate experience. Originally rowing at UC Davis, Lindquist transferred to Cal when the Aggies cut their rowing program. A year after losing her program, Lindquist was an NCAA champion. To read more about Lindquist's journey, click here.
Q&A With Tanya Wolfram
In the midst of preparing for the NCAA Championships, senior Tanya Wolfram took a minute to sit down with CalBears.com and discuss her thoughts on her time at Cal, her outlook on the national championships and her plans for after college. Click here to see the Q&A.
Lofman Racks Up Awards
Following The Big Row on April 28, Cal head coach Dave O'Neill gathered the team, family and friends together for a brief award ceremony at Redwood Shores. O'Neill then presented the first Jill Costello Scholar Award to senior Kristina Lofman. 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. The senior team captain was brought to tears when she received the honor.
"I am so honored to receive the Jill Costello award," Lofman said. "It means a lot that the coaches think I am a good representation of who Jill was and what she believed in. There is not a day that goes by where I don't think about Jill and the example that she set for us all. Every day, whether it is as an athlete or as a student, I try to be just as positive and aggressive towards challenges as she was. I want to set a good example as a leader and inspire others to do their very best while enjoying the journey, just like Jill did."
A week later on Thursday, May 3, Lofman received another award, this time for her diligent work in the classroom. At the annual Academic Honors Luncheon held at the Pauley Ballroom on the Cal campus, Lofman was one of the recipients of the Oscar Geballe Postgraduate Scholarships. This award, now in its 31st year, was created through the generosity of Dr. Theodore Geballe to honor his father, Oscar Geballe. This award recognizes Oscar Geballe's devotion to Cal and his strong belief in the value of combining scholarship and intercollegiate athletic competition. Since 1981, the Geballe award has helped more than 75 Golden Bears continue their education at the postgraduate level with a $5,000 stipend going to each winner.
Passot Signs With the Bears
Head coach Dave O'Neill recently added another big recruit to his already strong incoming class for the 2013 campaign. Charlotte Passot, who was recognized as one of the top recruits in the country, has signed a Letter of Intent to row at Cal next season. Passot, a native of Mill Valley, Calif., attended Tamalpais High School and rowed for the Marin Rowing Association.While rowing with the Marin RA, Passot was part of the women's eight that was victorious at the 2011 USRowing Youth National Championships. She also captured a bronze medal in the eight at the 2011 Junior World Championships.
Women's Crew Bear Blog
Want more insight into what's going on with the Cal women's crew? Check out the Cal women's crew bear blog on CalBears.com for a behind-the-scenes look at the Bears as they strive for another NCAA title in 2012. Golden Bears Heather Hargreaves and Greer Uu will be blogging throughout the season on CalBears.com. Click here to check out the blog.
O'Neill Inks Six Newcomers
In addition to the recent signing of Charlotte Passot, Dave O'Neill announced an impressive group of six recruits who signed National Letters of Intent this past fall for the 2013 season. The incoming class features athletes from the state of California and all of the country, as well. California signees include Savannah Eldridge (Folsom), Clara Nowinski (Sacramento) and Rebecca Roth (Corte Madera). The out-of-state signees are Cara Bohman (New York) and Kendall Chase (Colorado). Bringing in the international experience, Charlotte Siering comes to Cal from her native Germany.
Bears Enjoy 2011 International Summer Success
As much as the Bears are excited to represent Cal and their country at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London this summer, some Bears also enjoyed some international success prior to the 2012 season. Two-time All-American and member of Cal's varsity eight boat last year, Kara Kohler won gold for the U.S. as part of the women's four at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, last August.
Sophomore Rosie Popa, despite being a native of Melbourne, Australia, represented the U.S. in the women's quad sculls at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, last July. Senior Kristina Lofman also competed in the championships, competing in pairs for Norway.
Olympic Hopefuls Hope to Represent Cal at 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London
Cal women's crew has a number of Olympic hopefuls for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, this summer. Both athletes and coaches from Cal are hoping to represent the Bears on the world's grandest stage. Current Cal head coach Dave O'Neill is one of the hopeful coaches (LW2x). One of the rowers that O'Neill is hoping to coach in the Games is Julie Nichols. O'Neill, who first came to Cal when Nichols was a junior, has been reunited with his former collegiate rower as they try to represent the U.S. together. Erin Cafaro ('06) and Kara Kohler are two other Bears hoping to make the U.S. squad. Both are striving to make the eight, while Cafaro is also trying for the W2-and Kohler in the W4x. Laurel Korholz ('93) has been a part of every Olympic Games as either an athlete or a coach since 1996. Korholz returns as a U.S. assistant coach (W4x or W2x). The only non-U.S. Olympic hopeful is Iva Obradovic (W1x or W2x), who will row for her native Serbia. Obradovic took fifth in the B final of the single scull at the 2008 Olympics.
Bears Enjoy Third Year of Cal Crew Cleanup
For the third consecutive year, the Cal men's and women's crews gathered together for their local community service project of cleaning up the local areas this past March in Moraga, Calif. Both squads helped the East Bay Municipal Utility District clear out invasive broom (weeds), and cut up and removed fallen trees. The view the photo gallery from the day's events, please click here.
Jill Costello Receives NCAA Inspiration Award
The late Jill Costello was one of two winners of the NCAA Inspiration Award this past winter. She was recognized in January during the Honors Celebration at the 2012 NCAA Convention in Indianapolis. World War II veteran and former Southern California runner Louis Zamperini was the other honoree. The NCAA Inspiration Award is presented to a current coach or administrator or to a current or former varsity student-athlete who, when confronted with a life-altering situation, used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome the event and now serves as a role model to give hope and inspiration to others. Costello, Cal's former coxswain and the 2010 Pac-10 Athlete of the Year, passed away from lung cancer in June of 2010. Her fight and her legacy lives on through the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and her "Jog For Jill" events. For more information, please click here.
Head Coach Dave O'Neill
Dave O'Neill is in his 14th year as head coach of the California program. During his tenure, the program has been invited to the NCAA Championships each year, won eight Pac-12 Championships (last five consecutive) and two NCAA Championships. Cal has taken home nine trophies from NCAAs by finishing among the top four nationally, including the 2005 and 2006 NCAA champion trophies.
Ten of the women O'Neill has coached at Cal have gone on to race for their respective senior national teams, and there have been 10 Golden Bears racing on U23 national teams. Most recent O'Neill protégés Kristina Lofman and Kara Kohler, along with Olympic hopeful Julie Nichols and Iva Obradovic competed at the 2011 World Rowing Championships.
Before coming to Cal, O'Neill headed the women's program at Boston College for seven years. As an athlete, O'Neill became one of the country's top lightweight oarsmen, medaling at the USRowing Nationals, Olympic Festival, CRASH-B Sprints, and the Canadian Henley. He earned his bachelor's degree in history from Boston College in 1991.
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