Bears Place First Five Times at Crew Classic

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Cal men's crew coach Mike Teti's preferred way to train his crew is to not agonize over lineups and competitors' times and work with the guys he's got.

With five first-place finishes at this weekend's San Diego Crew Classic, his approach seems like the recipe for dominance.

The Bears raced five eights at the Crew Classic-one varsity, two JV, two open 8's and one freshman boat. Of the five boats, four walked away with first place finishes in their events' grand finals. The Cal B Open 8 brought home a first place victory in the petite final.

"We have however many guys racing, and everyone won. That's really exciting. It shows that we're working hard, that we're doing the right stuff," coxswain Zachary Vlahos said.

The Bears' first eight is an annual competitor in the Copley Cup, the Crew Classic's elite race for men's collegiate boats.

Heats for this year's Copley Cup were held on Saturday with the top three boats advancing to Sunday's grand final. Cal (5:54.60) placed first in its heat with a time 4.2 seconds faster than second place Syracuse.

The Bears won Sunday's grand final with a time of 5:49.50 followed by Brown (5:53.63), Syracuse (5:56.22) and Boston University (5:59.36).

Historically, Stanford has been one of Cal's biggest rivals at the Copley Cup. The Cardinal won three straight titles from 2006-08, but this year placed sixth.

The Bears' freshman eight beat Stanford by nearly four seconds in the Derek Guelker Memorial Cup with a time of 6:13.70. The rest of the field was nearly 10 seconds behind Cal.

The results from this weekend's races are promising for Teti's squad, but there are no guarantees for the rest of the season. Crews from colder climates like Michigan and Wisconsin have just started practicing on the water again.

"It's early in the season for them. A lot of those schools, they don't have a whole lot of water time up to this point," Teti said.

At last year's San Diego Crew Classic, the Bears defeated Washington by less than a second. When the Bears' first eight faced the Huskies again at the national championships, the team placed second with a time 0.9 seconds slower than Washington.

The Bears will race several of its Copley Cup competitors in the coming weeks. Cal will duel Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington and Stanford before its next big regatta, the Pac-10 championships.

"At Cal I don't have goals; I have requirements," Teti said. "I think in order to keep my job we're required to perform at a high level."


Contact Anna Hiatt at [email protected]

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