Men’s crew finishes in top five

    Everyone knows that anything can happen during a championship match, no matter what sport is being played. The Tritons’ varsity eight boat was the victim of this reality May 1 and May 2 at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships hosted by the Sacramento State Aquatic Center at Lake Natoma, Calif.

    UCSD entered one varsity boat and one junior varsity boat in each of their respective Grand Finals events; the varsity eight emerged in fifth place in six minutes, 11.5 seconds and the junior varsity pulled in fourth place in a 6:24.5 race.

    The Tritons’ varsity team began May 1 seeded third overall and first in its preliminary heat, in which the boat raced in the lane next to No. 4 rival Gonzaga. The varsity eight boats representing No. 1-seed Orange Coast College and No. 2 UC Davis had the luxury of competing directly against teams which were seeded considerably lower than them, and were not put under the same pressure that UCSD faced to edge out Gonzaga. This allowed the faster teams to continue to extend their taper into the Grand Finals.

    The tight matchup between UCSD and Gonzaga resulted in UCSD rowing the fastest race of any boat of the 18 competitors in three heats, finishing in 6:11.6. Gonzaga was hardly a boat-length in pursuit, crossing the line in 6:12.7, just 1.1 seconds in tow.

    Because of the method by which seedings are established at the championship regatta, the Tritons’ effort did not pay off as greatly as they deserved. Despite earning the overall fastest preliminary race time, the winners of heats one and two retained the privilege of a higher seed due to their original placing prior to the race.

    In the first heat, No. 6 Puget Sound tried to match Orange Coast, and clocked a 6:15.5 to the Pirates’ 6:13.3, while upsetting No. 5 Santa Clara and sliding into fourth place for the Grand Finals.

    The Grand Finals race was held in the early afternoon of May 2. Due to the narrow time margin between competitors, especially in the final event, the varsity eight racers knew that nothing was secured in the preliminary heats. The Tritons virtually tied their own race speed from the May 1 races, finishing in 6:11.5, while every other team except Santa Clara dropped several seconds off of previous races. Orange Coast chopped an unprecedented 11.8 seconds from 6:13.3 on May 1 to 6:01.5 at the Grand Finals. UC Davis gave the Pirates a run for their money in a nearly dead-even sprint to the finish in 6:01.6, one-tenth of a second out of first position, but 12.2 seconds faster than their May 1 race.

    Puget Sound shocked the field by cutting 7.5 seconds from its already impressive time, and cruised in for a 6:08 race in the Grand Finals. Gonzaga drafted in shortly thereafter, in 6:09.1, ahead of the Tritons, who found themselves more than two seconds back from the other boats ahead.

    The junior varsity boat faced a more widely spread field in the second varsity eight Grand Finals, which UC Davis won in an upset over Orange Coast, 6:13 to 6:15.6. Gonzaga’s second varsity pulled in at 6:18.9, and the Tritons raced closely with Puget Sound and ultimately edged the Loggers for fourth place, 6:24.5 to 6:27. Rounding out the heat was San Diego State in 6:37.7.

    On May 8 and May 9, UCSD headed to Worcester, Mass. to try its hand against the nation’s best crew programs at the East Coast Athletic Conference National Invitational Collegiate Regatta. Complete results were unavailable at press time.

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