This week's video comes to us from the Montlake Cut, where the Washington Huskies have been putting the final touches on their preparation for the 2014 IRA National Championship Regatta, set for this weekend in Princeton. The Huskies, who (inexplicably) started the season as the No. 6-ranked men's varsity eight, are looking to cap off another Pac-12 win with a fourth-straight IRA title (and fifth in the last six years)—but they will have their work cut out for them. The Huskies came through Pac-12s strong, but faced their toughest challenge since the 2013 Cal-Washington Dual, coming back from a four-seat deficit with 500m to go to take the victory by roughly one seat over Cal.
|Cal and UW race to the line at Lake Natoma (Photo: B. Kitch)|
While ACRAs are now in the rearview, the varsity-level national championships give us plenty to look forward to, with IRAs taking over Mercer Lake, and the 2014 NCAA Rowing Championships returning to Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis this weekend. First, however, let's take a look back at the action in Gainesville.
As promised on RR, it was Michigan who reigned supreme once again this season in the men's varsity eight and second varsity eight. The Wolverines are looking very deep for next year as well, with a host of rising juniors from this year's team ready to continue the momentum for Michigan into the 2015 campaign. Also as predicted, it was a fight between Virginia and Grand Valley State for the remaining podium spots in the men's varsity eight, with UVA holding off a hard-charging Laker crew in the final strokes to take the silver. While our top six teams did indeed race the medal round in the men's frosh eight, it was Orange Coast College leading the way in the end, ahead of a strong UCSB crew, with UVA, Michigan, and Notre Dame (a crew that did, indeed, turn some heads on Lake Lanier) chasing. While the focus will remain primarily on those programs that have, in some ways, become 'The Big Three' in men's club rowing—Michigan, Virginia, and Grand Valley—both Bucknell and UCSB have been building momentum over the last several years, and shouldn't be ignored going into the 2014-2015 racing season.
As for the women, John Bancheri's Grand Valley crew successfully defended their title, this time by roughly eight seconds ahead of UCSB, with Purdue taking third place overall. As predicted, Wichita State was in the final as well, but it was New Hampshire who held them off for a fourth-place finish. It should be noted as well that GVSU and UCSB took first and second in the women's second varsity eight, with Grand Valley making it a trifecta with a gold in the women's varsity four, while UCSB took first in the women's novice eight category—further evidence of good things to come in Santa Barbara next season.
Coming up tomorrow on RR: NCAA and IRA Previews—from 'Windy Indy' to Mercer Lake, the crews to watch at the varsity level