April Race Reports

By Luke Reynolds

2017 San Diego Crew Classic
.665 seconds. That was the margin between the Yale Bulldogs and California Bears April 1 at the 2017 San Diego Crew Classic in the men’s varsity eight Copley Cup heats. Cal had the faster time, clocking in at 5:42.088 but neither the Bulldogs, stroked by Yale senior and national-teamer Nathaniel Goodman, nor the Bears appeared to be emptying the tank as they crossed the finish line. Both won their heats. Despite the close times, however, Cal did not leave much room for suspense as they finished first in the men’s collegiate varsity eight Copley Cup grand final four seconds ahead of Yale, reversing last year’s order and bringing the cup back to the Golden State. Stanford and the University of Victoria had one of the closest finishes of the weekend in the same event with only one-quarter of a second separating the two. Stanford came out on top, however, and took the third-place slot with a time of 5:50.02. In the women’s collegiate varsity eight Jessop-Whittier Cup, coach Dave O’Neill’s Longhorns took first place in the first heat and faced off with the University of Southern California in the grand final. The Trojan women took first place in their heat with a slower time than Texas.
The Longhorns followed up their win in the heats by trouncing all other crews in all three eights categories they were entered in—the novice, second varsity, and varsity eight finals, and left San Diego with the Laurel Korholz Trophy, the Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Cup, and the Jessop-Whittier Cup, respectively. In the women’s open eight Carley Copley Cup grand final, the Stanford lightweight women pulled a 6:54.18 and amassed a six-second margin between the second-place Trojan women. In the closest race of the day, the Washington State Cougars very narrowly placed third beating out San Diego by a mere one-hundredth of a second.
     In one of the most hotly-contested events of the regatta, the women’s high school varsity eight event, OKC Riversport bested Capital Crew by barely a second. Riversport team captain, Xaley Yousey, said they were prepared to do what they had to in order to make the finals. “Last night in our boat meeting we talked about making a decision,” Yousey said. “We weren’t really sure when that decision was going to be made, but it came down to having to make that decision in the last 250 meters—and I think we made the decision not to be walked through.”
In the end, OKC managed to take second place behind Marin Rowing Association and made the grand final. Racing was even tighter in the women’s high school lightweight eight grand final, where Sea Base narrowly walked away with a win over Marin. Less than one second separated the two California crews. The women of Saugatuck took home the Gillman-Mulliken Cup in the women’s high school eight event over Marin, producing the same first- and second-place finishes as the 2016 Crew Classic. Unsatisfied with one first-place finish, Saugatuck followed up the varsity win by also winning the junior varsity high school eight event. OKC Riversport took third place in the varsity eight after narrowly making the grand final in the heats.
In the men’s high school varsity eight event, remarkably all six crews that raced in the grand final were from California. Newport Aquatic Center walked away with the fastest heat time in the event with a 6:10.458. The Newport men continued that trend to secure a three-peat in the men’s high school varsity, junior varsity and novice eight races. Belen Jesuit, of Miami, Florida, rowed away from Mission Bay with the Shimano Rowing Dynamics Cup. Also notable was Lake Las Vegas Rowing Club, which raced for the first time ever on Mission Bay in the women’s masters club championship eight event. The Lake Las Vegas women placed third in the petite final despite losing their five seat due to a complication at the start. The resilient women chose to complete their race coming across the finish line with seven rowers in the shell.

2017 SIRA Championship
On Friday, April 14, 2017 collegiate crews from around the country traveled to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the 2017 Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association’s Championship regatta. During the course of the two-day regatta, conditions held up with sunshine and little wind, providing for the first-class racing most have come to expect on Melton Hill Lake. Overall, the Purdue Boilermakers left the Secret City with the most impressive results, taking the women’s points trophy, finishing third in the men’s points race, and taking the overall points trophy home  to West Lafayette, Indiana. FIT finished first in the men’s varsity eight with a decisive six-second victory over Temple with a time of 6:03.414. In the women’s varsity eight, the Kansas State Wildcats brought some hardware home to the plains defeating the women of Old Dominion and FIT. In one of the closest finishes of the day, Virginia Rowing Association (the University of Virginia’s club crew), and Virginia Tech went 7:05.683 and 7:05.803, respectively, solidifying the timeless rivalry. Colorado took the first place slot in the event with a time of 7:01.018.