Varsity Squad Makes Up for Slow Start, Wins Simpson Cup


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REDWOOD SHORES, Calif.-For a moment, the number one spot seemed to be slipping away from the Cal women's crew team.

Washington had the lead, the Bears were struggling, and it looked like undefeated Cal would have to accept its first loss of the year.

But the Bears lived up to their ranking and came away with a convincing four-second victory over the Huskies for their fifth consecutive win in the Simpson Cup.

In perfect conditions on Saturday in Redwood Shores, Calif., the Bears rowed a courageous comeback against Washington in a time of 6:33.51.

After a slow start for Cal, the Huskies held a four-seat lead through the first 300 meters, but the Bears wouldn't go down without a fight. By the 1,000-meter mark, Cal had gained a two-second lead and continued to extend that to over seven seats through the finish line.

"The race was intense," senior captain Mara Allen said. "We got off the line slower than Washington and then worked our way back up. It was great to have such good competition."

This victory puts the Bears one win closer to the Huskies in a series of duals dating back to 1977; Washington leads the all-time series with 22 wins while Cal has 19.

While the varsity may have found success, the Bears' second boat had trouble finding the right mix after several lineup changes; they fell to a speedy and undefeated Washington boat with a time of 6:44.81 to the Huskies' 6:47.92.

"They need to get off the line better and have better top end speed," Cal coach Dave O'Neill said. "However, I think their base speed is getting better. The Washington 2V has been consistently fast this year, so we got what we expected."

The varsity four also struggled against Washington, giving up several lengths of open water by the 1,000-meter mark to eventually fall by nearly eleven seconds with a time of 7:38.1.

"The race was tough," sophomore Kirsten Campbell said. "We know that Washington has a strong start and that they're a fast crew. We expected to be down and to have to fight our way from behind."

Despite these two defeats, the novices were able to nab another win for Cal, showing their speed in a bow to stern defeat as they topped Washington's 7:03.13 with a time of 7:00.44.

The next step for Cal? Preparing for a dual against No. 8 Stanford next weekend, again in Redwood Shores. The Bears are working on raising the stroke rating to increase their speed against the Cardinal.

"(Stanford's) a fast crew and look to be getting faster," O'Neill said. "The intensity and ratings are coming up during the workouts; shorter pieces at higher stroke rates. We need to work on our maximum speed even more."

Cal proved its speed against the Huskies this weekend, but the Stanford dual is the last test before the Pac-10 championships on May 18th.

"We know the varsity eight is going well, but everyone knows they need to be flying at the end of the season," O'Neill said.


Contact Olivia Lasky at [email protected]

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