The men’s rowing team raced some of the country’s best teams at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Races Championship Regatta on Lake Natoma in Sacramento from May 3 to 4.
The varsity eight, ranked ninth in the association of 30 universities, had a difficult preliminary heat as they raced Orange Coast College, the first seed. The crew had a powerful row; its technique never faltered. In the preliminary race, the Anteaters beat Long Beach State, who beat them in a prior race. The Anteaters’ time of 6 minutes and 18.4 seconds placed them in the petite finals.
The Anteaters went into the petite finals with a strong start, putting themselves two seats up on Colorado and even with UC Berkley’s lightweight boat right off the starting line. As the boats settled into their race pace, Sacramento State started taking a couple seats on the Anteaters, pulling into the lead. The Anteaters inched up to have two seats on Washington State and a complete boat length on Colorado; UC Berkley’s lightweight boat fought to keep with the Anteaters. After 300 meters, Sacramento State battled ahead to take one boat length on the Anteaters.
“The middle of the race is a blur,” commented third-year Edwin Ohanian of the varsity eight. “I just remember our Coxswain calling power 10s.”
During the second 500 meters, the Anteaters moved up on Washington State, placing themselves behind only Sacramento. But after the 1,000 meter mark, Washington began creeping up on the Anteaters. At the 250 meter sprint, Washington and the Anteaters were even in second. Though the Anteaters powered into the sprint, Washington pulled up three seats. Varsity battled to take back the seats through the sprint. The Anteaters took third in their petite heat, avenging their loss to the UC Berkley lightweight boat from the previous day’s preliminary heat. All of the boats finished between three and four seconds of each other.
“Though they were seeded 13th, the varsity came in ninth,” commented Coach Scott Charette. “It was a good way to end: improving our seeding and beating crews who had beaten us in previous weeks.”
The junior varsity boat had one of its best rows of the year at WIRA. With a strong start, it remained competitive throughout the entire race. JV battled with Santa Clara, who eventually pulled ahead, beating the Anteaters by a mere .06 seconds.
Third year Derrick Diego of the JV boat stated, “This race was the culmination of all our hard work and efforts. It paid off because we closed the gap on Santa Clara.”
The Anteaters dropped time, finishing only .06 seconds behind Santa Clara as opposed to the 10 seconds they were behind two weeks ago.
In the preliminary heat, the top novice boat had its strongest race yet, though it had a difficult heat containing first-seed OCC. Hoping to beat their seeding of nine, the Anteaters battled against fifth-seed Sonoma State and eighth-seed Colorado State.
The Anteaters started off strong, staying second only to OCC. As they settled into their race speed, OCC and UC San Diego began pulling into the lead. Keeping their rhythm smooth and powerful, the Anteaters held their place, keeping several seats on both Colorado and Sonoma, leaving Long Beach State and Williamette behind. At 1,000 meters, Sonoma began closely pulling up past the Anteaters, but the Anteaters battled back, making them fight for each inch. Not to be outdone, Colorado began slowly moving up. At 1,500 meters, Colorado took two seats on the Anteaters. To take back the inches, the Anteaters started their sprint early, fighting with Colorado for fourth place. The Anteaters pulled through, finishing .2 seconds ahead of Colorado, landing them in fourth place. Their result placed them as first seed in the petite finals.
All of the novice boats in the petite final had preliminary times within two seconds of each other, making for a very competitive race. First place would go to the crew who had the best row.
The Anteaters had another strong row, one of their best in regards to both technique and time. Throughout the race, they fought hard. They crossed the finish line .4 seconds ahead of UC Davis, placing the Anteaters fourth in their race and ninth in the overall Regatta.
“Both races were really tight battles and when it got tough, we didn’t give up,” said first-year Nick Denney of the novice eight. “We were on top of our game; we raced as well as we possibly could have hoped to race.”