Stanford rowing had a jam-packed weekend of competitions – both men’s and women’s – as the Cardinal competed in regattas along the West Coast, posting strong performances all around. The men’s and women’s lightweight teams traveled south to compete in the San Diego Crew Classic, where Stanford’s varsity eight placed third in Sunday’s Grand Final of the Copely Cup. The No. 10 women’s varsity eight (4-1) stayed in the Bay Area and ultimately defeated No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes at the Pac-12 Challenge at Redwood Shores.
The Stanford men qualified all three of their boats for the grand finals during heat races on Saturday. The second varsity eight (6:02.84) and the all-freshman novice eight (6:16.33) each placed first in their respective heats, and the first varsity eight (5:46.489) qualified with a second-place finish fewer than four seconds behind first-place No. 2 Yale.
After advancing in all races to earn a sport in Sunday’s six-lane grand finals, the Cardinal continued their successes going into the second day in southern California. The first varsity eight placed third with a time of (5:50.02), finishing behind the first-placed Cal (5:35.50) and subsequent Yale (5:39.01). The novice eight placed second in their race (6:12.71), also just behind Cal (5:54.35). The second varsity eight (6:13.58) did not place in the finals, finishing fifth in their race overall.
At the end of the day, men’s head coach Craig Amerkhanian was optimistic about the day’s results. “Our freshman eight were outstanding today,” he said. “Our varsity eight knew we were facing tremendous crews in Cal and Yale, and our third-place finish is a good starting point for our season’s goals. Our second varsity eight were a bit disjointed today and will improve.”
At the same event, the women’s lightweight team posted a dominant performance, breezing through the qualifying heats and sending their two boats to the collegiate eight grand final and the open eight grand final. The lightweight women then went on to win both of the final races, with the collegiate eight boat finishing in 6:35.82 and the open eight boat claiming first in 6:54.18. These victories mark the first official regatta for new lightweight coach Kate Bertko.
Up north, the women’s team competed in two full days of head-to-head races versus a litany of other schools. Over the two-day regatta, Stanford’s six boats faced off against No. 3 ranked Michigan, No. 2 ranked Ohio State, No. 7 ranked Virginia, Washington and Cal. The first varsity eight claimed victories over Virginia and Ohio State with times of 6:20.26 and 6:26.43, later falling to Michigan by just three seconds. These upsets by the No. 10 nationally ranked Cardinal eight showcased the true strength of the women’s team.
The other first varsity boat scored victories throughout the weekend as well. The Stanford varsity four won their race versus Michigan by only 1.2 seconds (7:23.3). The varsity four then went on to win versus Virginia (7:21.83) before falling to Ohio State on Sunday (7:27.24).
The rest of the Stanford boats struggled, with the second and third eights and fours losing every race throughout the weekend. Despite the losses, the strong competition in this Pac-12 Championship regatta will serve as useful experience for the women’s team.
The women’s team competes once again this weekend at the Lake Natoma Invitational in Gold River, California. The women’s lightweight team will also return to action this weekend at the Knecht cup on Mercer Lake in New Jersey. The men’s team takes a break this weekend, but will take to the water once more on April 14-15 for the Stanford Invitational at Redwood Shores.
Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’ stanford.edu.