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Golden Medals: Men & Women’s Rowing open year with dominant wins from San Diego

Women’s Water Polo celebrates the Seniors on Saturday; Beach Volleyball earned biggest win in young program history.

Cal Athletics Twitter

Now that the swimming seasons are over, the next set of Cal programs that are annual national championship contenders are the Men’s and Women’s Crew (both are listed as “Rowing” on Cal Bears dot com this year to be more consistent with how this sport is listed by the NCAA - who only governs the women’s side).

Another perfect weekend at the San Diego Crew Classic to open the spring season for Cal Men’s Crew

Against a strong field that included the defending IRA champ in Yale, Golden Bears opened the 2018 season sweeping every race at the San Diego Crew Classic.

The biggest win, of course, was the Varsity 8 — the only result that will matter for the National Championship at the IRA National Championships this June. This was the Varsity 8 boat that won the Copley Cup over Yale.

Rower of the Year and Polish Calympian Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk is back to for the Cal boat that finished a disappointing 5th in the IRA grand final last year.

This was the 2017 lineup: John Amorosana (Coxswain), Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk, Martin Mackovic, Joachim Sutton, Maarten Hurkmans, Ferdinand Querfeld, Christoph Seifriedsberger, Alex Wallis, and Kyle Flagg (Bow). The coxswain as well as 5 of the 8 oarsmen have returned to the top boat for the Golden Bears.

In addition to the V8 race, Cal Men’s Crew also won 4 other events: 2nd V8, 3rd V8, Freshmen 8, and the Open event. The 3rd V8 boat took first in the open event with the Freshman 8 boat 2nd.

A change in the format this year meant that the Golden Bears had to win dual races on Saturday in the V8 race to advance to the grand final. Bears defeated Navy and Penn to book the Sunday berth.

This will be head coach Mike Teti’s last season helming the Bears program as he will transition to be the head of the US Rowing program, who will have relocated their headquarter from Princeton to Oakland, right next to where the Golden Bears program calls home.

Cal Women’s Crew sweeps all races at the San Diego Crew Classic

Coming into 2018, the Golden Bears are ranked No.2 in the country behind Washington, last year’s defending champs. They matched the men in winning every event from the San Diego Crew Classic last weekend, which does not include the participation of Washington.

This was the Varsity 8 winning boat for the Bears.

This was the lineup from last year: Hannah Christopher (Coxswain), Rowan McKellar, Sydney Payne, Dorthee Beckendorff, Inger Kavlie, Dana Moffat, Juliane Faralisch, Julia Vander Hoeven, and Charlotte Wesselmann (Bow). The coxswain and 5 of the 8 oarswomen are back.

Unlike the men, where the Varsity 8 boat result at the IRA championships will crown the national champs, the women’s NCAA championship is awarded to the highest scores from the V8, 2nd V8, and V4 races. Last year, Washington Huskies made history to be the first school to sweep all three races.

Bears’ 2V8, V4, and 3V8 boats also won their respective event this past weekend.

Cal Women’s Water Polo (16-3, 3-0 in MPSF) hosts San Jose State on Senior Day this Saturday

With the Golden Bears being the host for the upcoming MPSF Tournament, Saturday will not be the last home matches for Cal’s senior group that includes two fantastic Hungarian Calympians in all-time scorer Dora Antal and Anna Illes. Defender Kindred Paul and driver Carla Carraga have also played important roles for the Bears. Also to be honored are Kacy Avalos and Lolo Silver.

In a rather late addition to the schedule, Bears had no problem beating No.21 San Diego State on Wednesday via a 15-7 result while training for the week (it is Spring Break) from Morro Bay. Golden Bears should also have no issue against No.19 San Jose State from Spieker Aquatics Complex on Saturday.

Bears are still co-No.1 with Stanford since beating the Cardinal on March 4th. They are currently in the midst of a 4 match winning streak.

The last match of the regular season conference play will be Cal’s visit to USC on April 7th where the Bears can win the MPSF regular season title. A tune up at UC Davis on April 21st will be the last regular season match ahead of the MPSF Tournament hosted by the Golden Bears on April 27-29.

Cal Beach Volleyball earned biggest win in program history over No.11 Arizona

Golden Bears competed against a few of the very best teams in the nation, which also happens to be in the Pac-12: Conference of Champions, last weekend from Santa Monica. Against the defending champs, USC, Bears lost a very narrow 3-2 decision. Bears then bounced back to sweep Washington 5-0. The strength for the Bears come from the improved depth this year. Bears won on both courts 4 and 5 against the Trojans with court 3 being the next closest result.

No. 4 USC 3, No. 16 Cal 2

No. 1: Abril Bustamante-Tina Graudina (USC) def. Alexia Inman-Mima Mirkovic, 21-15, 21-12

No. 2: Terese Cannon-Sammy Slater (USC) def. Jessica Gaffney-Iya Lindahl, 21-10, 21-18

No. 3: Jenna Belton-Haley Hallgren (USC) def. Bryce Bark-Madison Dueck, 21-16, 25-23

No. 4: Mia Merino-Caroline Schafer (Cal) def. Joy Dennis-Jo Kremer, 20-22, 21-19, 15-7

No. 5: Grace Campbell-Maddie Micheletti (Cal) def. Katrina Kernochan-Alexandra Poletto, 21-16, 21-16

No. 16 Cal 5, No. 19 Washington 0

No. 1: Alexia Inman-Mima Mirkovic (Cal) def. Jordan Anderson-Kimmy Gardiner, 23-21, 21-16

No. 2: Jessica Gaffney-Iya Lindahl (Cal) def. Destiny Julye-Courtney Schwan, 21-17, 18-21, 15-9

No. 3: Bryce Bark-Madison Dueck (Cal) def. Carly DeHoog-Shayne McPherson, 21-10, 17-21, 15-12

No. 4: Mia Merino-Caroline Schafer (Cal) def. Kara Bajema-Emma Calle, 21-15, 21-15

No. 5: Grace Campbell-Maddie Micheletti (Cal) def. Anna Crabtree-Natalie Robinson, 21-16, 21-9

In the 2nd day of action, Bears got swept 5-0 by UCLA although many sets were quite close. In the 2nd meet of the day and 4th in the two day tournament, the Golden Bears made some history by beating No.11 Arizona 4-1, recording the biggest win thus far in the short history of the Beach Volleyball program.

No. 2 UCLA 5, No. 16 Cal 0

No. 1: Megan McNamara-Nicole McNamara (UCLA) def. Alexia Inman-Mima Mirkovic, 21-13, 24-22

No. 2: Lily Justine-Sarah Sponcil (UCLA) def. Jessica Gaffney-Iya Lindahl, 21-18, 21-13

No. 3: Zana Muno-Savvy Simo (UCLA) def. Bryce Bark-Madison Dueck, 23-21, 21-19

No. 4: Mac May-Elise Zappia (UCLA) def. Mia Merino-Caroline Schafer, 21-19, 21-12

No. 5: Izzy Carey-Megan Muret (UCLA) def. Grace Campbell-Maddie Micheletti, 21-17, 21-18

No. 16 Cal 4, No. 11 Arizona 1

No. 1: Alexia Inman-Mima Mirkovic (Cal) def. Natalie Anselmo-Olivia Macdonald, 21-18, 21-19

No. 2: Olivia Hallaran-Kacey Nady (Arizona) def. Jessica Gaffney-Iya Lindahl, 25-23, 21-19

No. 3: Bryce Bark-Madison Dueck (Cal) def. Makenna Martin-Mia Mason, 21-14, 23-21

No. 4: Caroline Schafer-Mia Merino (Cal) def. Hailey Devlin-Stephany Purdue, 21-19, 21-19

No. 5: Grace Campbell-Maddie Micheletti (Cal) def. Jonny Baham-Brooke Burling, 21-15, 21-9

Thanks to this win, Bears (13-3, 2-1 in Pac-12) have ascended two spots in the rankings to become the No.14 team in the nation.

Bears will host USF today (Friday) before going down to Tucson for the Wildcat Invitational next weekend where the volleyball action will be on the Pac-12 Networks.

No.9 Cal Women’s Gymnastics to compete at Salt Lake City Regional next weekend

Coming off the 5th best team total in program history (196.950) at the Pac-12 Women’s Gymnastics Championship last weekend which was good for 3rd behind UCLA and Utah, the Golden Bears watched the NCAA selection show knowing fully well that they will be competing in their 6th consecutive NCAA Regional. It was just a matter of where.

It was unveiled on Monday that the 9th overall seed California Golden Bears will make a short trip to the Salt Lake City Regional on April 7th to be the 2nd seed in that Regional behind host Utah Red Rocks. The top two teams from each of the 6 Regional will make the NCAA National Championships at St. Louis, Missouri on April 20-21.

In addition to the Utes, who the Bears beat in the regular season dual from Berkeley, Cal Bears will also see the familiar Stanford squad (who the Bears defeated 3 times already this year, including at the Pac-12 Championships last weekend) along with other West Coast squads.

I expect this meet to be streamed online. We will have an open thread for this meet for Saturday, April 7th.