It’s an exciting weekend for Cal Athletics with Cal Baseball in the Fayetteville Regional, Cal Rugby 7s at the Collegiate Rugby Championship outside Philadelphia, Cal Men’s Rowing in the IRA Championship Regatta in Sacramento, and Cal Women’s Rowing in the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis. Cal could plausibly win an unprecedented 3 national championships in one day this Sunday!
Cal Women’s Rowing is racing for the program’s 5th NCAA Championship and 6th national team title in program history. Golden Bears have been the best women’s crew in the country on 1980 (before the sport was governed by the NCAA), 2005, 2006, 2016, and 2018. Cal would love to win their 3rd NCAA team title in 4 years this weekend.
In the past 6 years, Cal women’s rowing has finished either 1st or 2nd in the country.
The strong performances by the Bears in recent year has continued with the domination of the Cal V8+ boat which has gone undefeated all year long to earn the top overall seed in the main race that will count as half of the total team score. Bears won the 2018 team title by winning both the V8+ and V4+ races.
On the top boat, Cal junior Dana Moffat has been named the Pac-12 Rower of the Year.
Three of Dana’s boatmates, Charlotte Wesselmann, Juliane Faralisch, and Sydney Payne, also earned All Pac-12 honors.
Congratulations to the four Golden Bears who have been named to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team! Charlotte Wesselmann, Juliane Faralisch, Sydney Payne, and Dana Moffat all earned honors for their efforts for the undefeated varsity eight! pic.twitter.com/5v7qTRL6Vv— Cal Women's Rowing (@CalWRowing) May 28, 2019
Unlike past years, when all 3 Cal boats can be reliably counted on to make the grand final (final 6), Friday and Saturday actions may be interesting this year with regards to Cal’s Varsity 4+ boat which is seeded 9th coming into the championship weekend. It will be very tough (though not quite impossible) for the Bears to repeat as national champs without a top 6 finish from the V4+ boat. Cal V4+ had finished behind both Washington and Stanford at the regular season dual meet and at the Pac-12 Championships.
The 2V8+ boat is seeded 4th after suffering regular season losses to Washington (top seed) and Stanford (3rd seed).
Both the Cal V4+ and 2V8+ boats may need to go through the repechage (extra races on Friday afternoon) to make the Sunday Grand Finals.
On Friday, the top 2 finishers of each heat goes directly to Saturday’s A/B semifinals. The other boats have another chance on Friday afternoon to win the repechage to make the A/B semifinals. On Saturday, the top 3 boats in each A semifinals make the Grand Final on Sunday.
While a total of 22 schools will race for the national championships, the top 3 based on the coaches’ poll are Pac-12 rivals in Washington, Stanford, and Cal.
Scoring the seed sheet (not necessarily a great way to predict the final), Washington is sitting at the top of a very wide open team race with the top seeds in 2V8 and V4 but only the 4th seed in V8. Also a strong contender is Stanford (3rd in V8, 3rd in 2V8, 2nd in V4). Then it’s your Golden Bears (1st in V8, 4th in 2V8, 9th in V4). In the mix as well are Michigan (6th in V8, 2nd in 2V8, 5th in V4), Texas (5th in V8, 6th in 2V8, 3rd in V4), and Princeton (2nd in V8, 6th in 2V8, 3rd in V4).
In general, it is easier for the lesser boats to significantly improve their performances by the year end than the top boat (which is so experienced that they are already a well oiled crew at the beginning of the season). I certainly would not rule the Cal Bears out.
NCAA will have free live video feeds of the competitions all weekend long, starting with Friday’s heat.
Friday, May 31 (All Times PT)
6:00 a.m. - I Eights Heat 1 (Cal vs. Indiana, Yale, Ohio State, Duke)
7:24 a.m. – II Eights Heat 4 (Cal vs. Rhode Island, Indiana, Virginia, Harvard, Gonzaga)
7:36 a.m. – Fours Heat 1 (Cal vs Harvard, Washington, Brown, Iowa)
Check back on Sunday morning (depending on the weather, the main race may take place any time from 5 AM PT to just before 9 AM PT) for the CGB open thread for championship Sunday.
Assuming no last minute boat lineup changes, here are the rosters from the Pac-12 championship two weeks ago
First up, the women's varsity 8+ at 8:15 a.m. Go Bears! pic.twitter.com/Yo0Dn2r54k— Cal Women's Rowing (@CalWRowing) May 19, 2019
Riley Brown (cox)
Alex Floyd (bow)
The second women's varsity 8+ will be racing at 8:45 a.m. Go Bears! pic.twitter.com/KhTHmZHvup— Cal Women's Rowing (@CalWRowing) May 19, 2019
Elisa Forbes (cox)
Lottie Orr (bow)
The women's varsity 4+ will be racing at 9:15 a.m. Go Bears! pic.twitter.com/Ahu2xWroFa— Cal Women's Rowing (@CalWRowing) May 19, 2019
Lydia Hancock (cox)
Jillian Behrens (bow)
ROW ON YOU BEARS!