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Golden Medals: Championship Weekend for Rugby 7s and Crew

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Do not be surprised if the Golden Bears win 2 or even 3 team national titles this weekend.

Bears will look to 3-peat at the Collegiate Rugby Championship this weekend.
Bears will look to 3-peat at the Collegiate Rugby Championship this weekend.
Cal Varsity Rugby Facebook

The school year may be over, but plenty of national titles are still up for grab. This may be the most glorious weekend of this past Cal Athletics school year yet, with 3 solid chances for the Bears to add to our total national titles haul (count currently sits at 88 after the women's swimming and diving win in March).

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Cal Rugby 7's

Bears are going for a 3-peat (please don't sue me Pat Riley for using that term) at the Collegiate Rugby 7's champs at the Collegiate Rugby Championships at PPL Park this weekend, just outside Philadelphia. This event will again showcase the type of rugby that will be on displayed in the Olympics game, starting with the Rio games next year.

Saturday will again be pool play where the Bears have a perfect record in the history of the CRC (this is the 6th year with the last  5 taking place at PPL Park.

After pool play on Saturday, the field will be reseeded (and hopefully in a more reasonable way than last year where the semi pit No.1 seed against No.3 seed rather than No.4 seed for some odd reason) and the championship will then be decided with the top 8 teams in a single elimination format.

Sat. May 31 Cal Schedule

vs. Boston College 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT

vs. Notre Dame 11:20 a.m. ET/8:20 a.m. PT

vs. Virginia Tech 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT (NBC)

Broadcast Schedule (All Times Pacific)

Sat. May 30: 12-1:30 p.m. PT NBC, 1:30-3 p.m. NBCSN

Sun. May 31: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. NBCSN, 1-3 p.m. NBC

Here are the key players for the Bears (from CalBears.com):

Anderson, No. 2 in Cal 7s history in appearances (59), tries (35) and conversions (23), is set to lead the RugbyBears into his fourth CRC with co-captain Alec Gletzer, who will make his second consecutive trip to Philadelphia with 11 tries in 21 all-time 7s appearances.

Battaglia will also return for his fourth CRC as Cal’s No. 1 all-time 7s leader in appearances (61) and No. 2 all-time 7s try scorer (34). He is to be joined by fellow returners Patrick Barrientes, who will bring 30 appearances and 12 career ties in Cal 7s to his third CRC, where he scored the title-clinching try for the Bears in 2014; Bosco, who has 40 appearances (No.7 all-time in Cal 7s) and 16 tries scored (No. 10) entering his fourth CRC; and Nicklas Boyer, making his third CRC trip with 41 appearances and 24 tries, both No. 5 in Cal 7s history. Other veterans of the CRC who are returning to Philadelphia in 2015 are Harry Adolphus, making his second trip to the championship tournament carrying 19 appearances with 9 tries and 22 conversions in Cal 7s; Jesse Milne (18 tries in 27 appearances, second CRC); Eakalafi Okusi (6 tries and 1 conversion in 32 appearances, second CRC) and Anthony Salaber (18 tries in 33 appearances, third CRC).

The plan is for me to again cover this event in person on Sunday. Be on the lookout on Twitter (follow both CGB @GoldenBlog and me personally @YRueyYen) for live coverage then.

In the 5 year previous history of the CRC, the national championship in Rugby 7's, the Bears were knocked out in the elimination round in the first three year before finally triumphing in 2013. Bears repeated as champs in 2014, and will look to win the 3rd national championship in rugby 7's this year.

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Cal Women's Crew

After winning the Pac-12 championships two weeks ago, the Bears will try to replicate their success at the same site, appropriately named Gold River, this weekend to bring home the NCAA Championship.

Preliminary races are on Friday and Saturday before the grand finale is scheduled for Sunday morning.

Bears are the top seed (in Varsity 8) and boast victories this season over many of the other top competitors (from CalBears.com):

Among the field of 22 boats for the NCAA Championships, Cal owns victories over Stanford (No. 3 seed), Brown (No. 4 seed), Washington (No. 5 seed), Virginia (No. 6 seed), Washington State (No. 11 seed), Notre Dame (No. 14 seed), USC (No. 16 seed), and Gonzaga (No. 17 seed) this season.

Assuming no late changes to the boat lineup (and it's hard to imagine why that would be the case at this stage of the season), here were the lineups from the Pac-12 Championships.

Varsity 8:

Cal Lineup: Lindsay Meltz (coxswain), Kendall Chase (stroke), Ingvild Roenningen (7), Caileigh Filmer (6), Mia Croonquist (5), Jacinta Edmunds (4), Dorothee Beckendorff (3), Inger Kavlie (2), Rowan McKellar (bow)

2nd Varsity 8:

Cal Lineup: Hannah Christopher (coxswain), Sarah Schwartz (stroke), Charlotte Siering, Hunter Deuel, Maddie Wolf, Charlotte Passot, Stephanie Kraemer, Katie DeHaas, Danielle Struck (bow)

Varsity 4:

Cal Lineup: Hannah Freeman (coxswain), Katie Kelly (stroke), Camilla Gardiner (3), Lisa Perrine (2), Hailey Drangsholt (bow)

The Varsity 8 boat is seeded 1st. Second Varsity 8 is seeded 4th. Varsity 4 is seeded 7th.

With the Pac-12 win and a strong season overall, the Bears dominated the Pac-12 honors.

Ohio State are the two time defending champs but the Bears on the strength of the V8 (points double of the other two races) may just be able to win a 4th National title in school history.

ROW ON YOU BEARS!

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Cal Men's Crew

Also taking place near Philadelphia (tempting me to try to go to the grand finale race and hope that rugby 7's survive the QF round) is the other storied Cal program that is NOT competing for a NCAA championships due to the desire of the sport to honor history rather than what NCAA demands. In men's crew, the national title is awarded to the V8 winning boat, rather to a composite of race results like for the women (which is a NCAA championships, which also means that it's results count for both the Director's Cup and the Capital One Cup).

The IRA men's rowing championship will take place in New Jersey and be hosted by Princeton.

National titles will also be awarded for 2nd V8, 3rd V8, Freshman V8, and V4.

Here is how the Bears fared so far this year (from CalBears.com):

Cal’s varsity eight enters the IRAs ranked No. 2 in the most recent USRowing Collegiate Poll. The Golden Bears placed second at the Pac-12 Championships this past Sunday. Cal will be one of 24 entries in the varsity eight at the 2015 IRA Championships. The Bears’ varsity eight has defeated fellow IRA participants Boston, Drexel, Oregon State, Pennsylvania, Stanford, Washington, and Wisconsin this season. After defeating Washington in Seattle during the regular season, the Bears’ lone defeat in the varsity eight in 2015 was to the Huskies in the Pac-12 Championship in Gold River, Calif. on May 17.

Bears are ranked 2nd behind Washington, but the important thing is that we have beaten them this year. There are reasons to be optimistic that the Bears can claim our 17th national title and the first one since 2010.

ROW ON YOU BEARS!

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Cal Track and Field

20 Cal athletes are in Austin this weekend, started yesterday, to vie for a spot in the NCAA Championships at the West Preliminary Championships in Austin, TX.

Here are the list of Bears in action (from CalBears.com):

Five members of the Golden Bears will be competing in multiple events at the West Preliminaries; redshirt sophomore Ethan Cochran (discus and shot put), sophomore Khalfani Muhammad (100M and 4x100 relay), Walt Jones IV (long jump and 4x100 relay) freshman Karsten Wethington (triple jump and 4x100 relay) and redshirt junior Jonte Grant (long jump and triple jump).

Other notable Bears in action will be redshirt senior Rubayah Bent-Mikail (triple jump), redshirt junior Jonte Turner (400m hurdles) and juniors Noel Frazier (high jump), Thomas Joyce (1500m) and Leland Later (1500m). Freshman Ashley Anderson and sophomore Kaire Tanner will compete alongside Bent Mikail in the triple jump on Saturday. Freshmen Eugene Hamilton and Ellis Newton will compete in the 800m on Thursday evening. Bethan Knights will look to continue her successful freshman campaign when she competes in the 5,000M on Saturday evening. Fellow freshmen Ashtyn Davis and Peter Simon will participate in the 110m hurdles and shot put, respectively. Finally, sophomores Brenden Song (discus), Josh Lewis (1500m), Eugene Hamilton (800m) and Matt Esparaza (hammer) will also be making their first appearances in NCAA Regional competition.

GO BEARS!