By Niles Egan
Stanford women’s rowing will travel to Berkeley this Saturday to take on rival Cal in the annual Big Row. The Cardinal enter the regatta following a three-week break after racing in the Head Of The Charles Regatta, in which the Varsity Eight finished third overall and first in collegiate boats.
Last season, Stanford and Cal were fairly evenly matched. Heading into the postseason, Stanford was ranked third nationally and Cal second. At the Pac-12 Championship, the Golden Bears’ Varsity Eight placed first, beating the runner-up Cardinal. Stanford’s Varsity Four, however, beat the Golden Bears, helping Stanford edge out their rival by a half-point in the final overall team score. Then, at the NCAA championships, the Cardinal swept Cal in all finals races.
The Cardinal have since undergone some roster changes. At the Head Of The Charles, the Stanford Eight used a lineup, from bow to stern, of sophomore coxswain Caroline Rickson, sophomore Kelsey McGinley, sophomore Esther Briz Zamorano, junior Kaitlyn Kynast, junior Grace McGinley, senior Emily Delleman, junior Sarah Commesso, senior Meg Saunders and freshman Annabelle Bachmann.
Rickson, Kelsey McGinley, Kynast, Delleman and Saunders are all returning to the Varsity Eight boat this season. New additions Briz Zamorano and Grace McGinley both were part of Stanford’s second Varsity Eight at the NCAA championship last season. Commesso was in the bow as part of the Varsity Four last season, which placed second to match its highest program finish at the NCAA championship. Bachman, a true freshman from Germany, is in her inaugural season as a Cardinal rower.
The Varsity Four boat has a completely new lineup this season. The boat includes juniors Miranda Nykolyn and coxswain Tassica Lim, freshman Lettie Cabot, and sophomores Sophie Dixon and Eva Nates. Nevertheless, the Varsity Four promises to be a strong group after their third-place finish at the Head of the Charles.
The Big Row in Berkeley will conclude the fall season. Both schools were conference heavyweights last season. The result of this competition could have significant implications for what can be expected when the season continues in the spring.
This article has been updated to reflect Miranda Nykolyn is a member of the Varsity Four boat.
Contact Niles Egan at negan ‘at’ stanford.edu.