Bears Chase Huskies in Weekend Duel

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Consider the last few weeks of racing a vigorous warmup for the Cal men's and No. 2 women's crew squads.

The individual squads have had their challenges this season leading up to their dual meet against Washington this weekend. The women's squad defeated the No. 3 Stanford women last weekend at the Lake Natoma Invite. Meanwhile, the men's team faced Brown and Stanford at the San Diego Crew Classic.

Cal has proven why it deserves to be in the top tier of collegiate racing, winning nearly every race they've entered. The men's and women's squads come back to Berkeley after every regatta having swept their competition, or having come within one or two boats of sweeping.

While the Bears have faced good teams, including Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Santa Clara, they now face a new caliber of crew.

Cal will face its first real competition of the season from the Huskies. Like Cal, the Washington men's and women's crew squads are historically superlative.

On the women's side, Cal has claimed the Simpson Cup against Washington for the last six consecutive years. With commanding victories at both of their regattas thus far this season, the Bears seem poised to continue their six-year winning streak against the Huskies. The Cal women's greatest competition tends to be the Cardinal, whom they will race again as a team a week after Washington.

Though Washington has an all-around solid squad, their real power comes from the men's side, which isn't regulated by the NCAA.

The Huskies men's squad has taken home the victory at this weekend's annual dual meet for the past three years.

"It's going to be difficult racing," men's coach Mike Teti said.

Difficult, but doable.

This coming weekend, the Bears have home court advantage over the Huskies. The squads will duel at Redwood Shores, Calif., a location and waterway Cal crew knows well. Add to that the high retention rate of varsity rowers and Cal has a solid shot at keeping their season record nearly unblemished.

"Just by being on our team they know that the standard is very, very high," women's coach Dave O'Neill said after Cal finished racing last weekend.

A number of rowers from the men's and women's first varsity eights last year have returned for this racing season, so the team as a whole is more mentally mature on the water.

There has been one resounding theme on both squads this season: keep your head in the boat and focus on your own racing. As the Bears compete against more nationally-ranked schools, this approach will help keep the rowers relaxed on even the most nerve-wracking of race days.

This weekend of racing against Washington is guaranteed to be one when mental calm will pay off.


Contact Anna Hiatt at [email protected]

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