The California and Stanford men's and women's varsity squads will renew their rivalry tomorrow at Redwood Shores, with the men's Varsity 8s competing for the Schwabacher Cup, and the women's 1Vs going head-to-head for the Lambert Cup. In honor of the late Jill Costello -- a major contributor on the Cal women's team, who passed away following a battle with lung cancer last June -- the men's squads from Cal and Stanford, as well as the Stanford women, will wear aquamarine ribbons (Costello's favorite color), and the Cal women will wear alternate uniforms/make use of specially painted blades (also aquamarine). The racing will begin at 10:10 am on Saturday morning, with the men's Varsity 4+ race, and will culminate with the two Varsity 8 races at 11:15 (men) and 11:30 am (women). If you are anywhere around the Bay Area this weekend, this will be an event worth seeing, with some of the finest collegiate talent in the US on display.
The Bears, coached by Mike Teti and currently ranked No. 2, enter the racing this weekend having just competed against long-time arch-rival, and current No. 1, Washington, on the Montlake Cut. The Huskies showed great speed, edging out the Bears in the Varsity 8 by just under three seconds, and defeating Cal by increasing margins in the 2V and V4+ races. The Cal Frosh, however, were able to reverse the trend, and defeated the Huskies by a length open. Tomorrow, the Bears will prove a very tough challenge for Craig Amerkhanian's Stanford men (currently checking in at No. 11), though the Cardinal Varsity 8 (stacked with top Frosh recruit Austin Hack and local stand-out Sebastian Peterlin) raced very well against a Cal V8 that included Dutch Olympian (and mechanical engineering student) Olivier Siegelaar, as well as California native and Coast alum Dane Oatman, at Crew Classic earlier this month, taking 2nd and crossing the line just under 3 seconds behind Cal. The Cal Frosh appear to be on pace for what could be championship season this year at the IRA (look for a dominant performance from that crew tomorrow morning, as Stanford will likely place their top Frosh in the Varsity 8, as they did in San Diego), and we think that the Cal 2V will prove too much for Stanford.
The Cal women (currently ranked No. 3), under the direction of Head Coach Dave O'Neill, return from Washington with a great deal of momentum, having swept all events on 'The Cut.' This is indeed quite a feat, as it marks the first loss for the UW women's Frosh 8 since 2009 (and the first loss for Head Frosh Coach Nicole Minett since she began coaching the Huskies). However, the Bears have come home to the Bay Area to face Yaz Farooq's very strong Stanford squad, currently ranked No. 2 in the country, and with a Varsity 8 that's loaded with talent, including two Olympians in Elle Logan (gold medal in Beijing) and Lindsay Meyer (5th place in the W4x in Beijing). Both teams have a great deal of depth (see our preseason profile of these two crews for more information), and the racing was fairly close between the two teams two weeks ago in Sacramento at the Lake Natoma Invite. Stanford defeated Cal in both the Varsity 8 and the 2V (by roughly 5 seconds in both cases) in Sacramento, and there is no question that Stanford have enough talent and experience at the varsity level to win this season. Cal, too, have a great deal of upside and developing talent in their program, with sophomore phenom Kara Kohler and senior co-captain Mary Jeghers, fresh from their gold medal performance at U23 Worlds last summer. The Cal Frosh appear to have the advantage over Stanford, as they are coming off a solid victory over a very talented opponent in Washington, and the Cal V4+ look to be quicker than Stanford as well.
For a full preview of the men's and women's events from the Cal and Stanford athletics websites, see below:
Cal Women -- http://www.calbears.com/sports/w-crew/spec-rel/042711aab.html
Cal Men -- http://www.calbears.com/sports/m-crew/spec-rel/042711aab.html
Stanford Women -- http://www.gostanford.com/sports/m-crew/spec-rel/042811aaa.html
Stanford Men -- http://www.gostanford.com/sports/m-crew/spec-rel/042811aaa.html