Opening Day 2012

For the weekend of Cinco De Mayo, the Western Men’s Crew team headed south to the Montlake Cut to participate in the annual opening day ceremony hosted by the University of Washington. The Western Men fielded the Varsity 8 for the open men’s 8 race, competing against two boats from the University of Washington, their fourth Varsity 8, and third Novice 8, as well as Loyola Marymount University’s Varsity 8. The boats lined up at the edge of the yacht line course, music and air horns blaring from either side, the official announced “attention, row!” Immediately off the line the Western men were competing for first with both of the UW boats and beginning to walk away from the LMU 8. By 750 meters in the UW 4V8 boat had began to pull away, with Western in hot pursuit, along with the other UW boat on Western’s stern giving the men motivation to push through. By the time the boats had entered into the Cut, the UW 4V8 had nearly lost contact with the Western boat, and it was now a battle for 2nd between Western and UW’s 3rd Novice 8. Western was able to edge out the UW boat, being the only crew to beat a UW boat throughout the entire day. Overall the Men had a successful day in Seattle, and able to enjoy a major event in the rowing community that is known as Opening Day.

WIRA 2012

Varsity 4 Bow to Stern: Cox Zac Johnson, Zak Balonick, Joe Gregersen, Matt Reider, Zach Murphy


WWU drove down to Sacramento, California to compete in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship. The team brought their top Novice 4 and their Varsity 4 with hopes of claiming the West Coast Championship. Saturday was the Heat Races where most boats had to place top two or three to advance to sunday, the Grand Final. The Novice 4 took off first from the team, racing early Saturday morning. The Novice 4, coxed by Mackenzie Popovich, took first in their heat with a time of 7:10.4 , beating out UCD (2nd), LMU (3rd), Willamete (4th), UCSB (5th), UCLA (6th), and Pacific (7th). They posted the 3rd fastest heat time in the Novice 4, closely behind OCC and SPU. The Varsity 4 launched later in the day and rowed up to the starting line for their heat. The V4, coxed by Zac Johnson, took 1st in their heat, pushing past LMU (2nd), UCLA (3rd,), and UCSB (4th). They tied Lewis and Clark for the fastest time in the heats posting a 6:54.0. Both WWU boats advanced to the finals, held on Sunday.

Again, the Novice 4 headed out first, lining up next to OCC, SPU, LMU, UCD, and SMC for the grand final of the Novice 4 event. After a slower start that normal, WWU pushed hard through the entire race, sending their boat closer and closer to the front of the pack, finishing in 3rd place with a time of 6:54.0 behind OCC and SPU. The Varsity 4 launched shortly after, lining up next to LC, LMU, Cal, UCLA, and LBU for the grand final of the Varsity 4 event. Pushing hard off the line, all boats were even, WWU slightly behind. After a powerful “Lengthen 10” WWU was in first place. Giving it everything they had and sticking to the game plan, they gave a powerful 40 stroke move at the 1000 meter mark, pulling further and further away from all other crews. By the 1500 meter mark, WWU had open water on the trailing crews and began sprinting for the finish with LC charging up hard on their stern. WWU stroked through the finish line, winning the WIRA Championship with a few feet of open water on second place, Lewis and Clark, a fast crew the team has been battling with every race. They posted a 6:49.4, racing with a slight head wind.

V4 standing on the podium Lewis & Clark, and Loyola-Marymount
Novice 4 Brad Verbon, Carl Smith, Nate Thies, Aaron Meyers, Mackenzie Popovich and coach Jason Syms

Both WWU boats performed well, coming home with a WIRA Varsity 4 Championship, which hasn’t been accomplished by the team since 2006. Thank you to everyone, friends and family, who support our team and give us these opportunities we seek to compete in. All of your support is greatly appreciated and makes us a closer knit team. We will be posting about our Varsity 8 rowing at UW’s Opening Day shortly.

NCRC’s Recap

On Friday, April 20th the WWU Men’s Team drove down to Eugene, Oregon in preparation for one of the most important regattas of the season. NCRC Championships were held on Dexter Lake, and 2012 turned out to be a historic year for Western Crew. With eyes on Team Title, Western fielded an impressive number of boats this year, having entered the V8, V4+, ltwt V4+, Novice 8, and Novice 4 races.
Kicking off the day for the men’s team was the V8 race with Humboldt State, Lewis and Clark, and Pacific Lutheran, with Western in lane 1 coxed by Zac Johnson. Off the start Westerns men were sitting in third place with about 3 seats down on UPS in second, but by the end of the first high 10 had reeled in both Humboldt and UPS to take the lead. By the end of the 35 stroke start Western was stern to bow with Humboldt and pulling away. Widening the gap even further with an impressive 1000 meter move Western was about 1.5 boat lengths in the lead by the time they hit the 1500-meter mark. With victory in sight the boys brought up the stroke rate and crossed the line 6 seconds ahead of second place with a time of 6:23.30. Humboldt finished 6:30.72 and Lewis and Clark pulled a respectable 6:35.71. With gold in the V8 Western’s hunt for the Team Title was off to a good start, placing Western 8 points ahead of LC.
Next up for the men was the JV4+ coxed by Sam Carlos. Creating boat lineups is a difficult process for all small teams, with Western no exception, the JV4 was a fairly new line up, having had to switch several of the rowers in between boats. Despite the recent changes the 4 captured a close second with a time of 7:31.05; just 3 seconds behind LC’s 4 at 7:27.70. Another important race for the Title, Western proved just how adaptable a small team could be.
After a short break it was time for the Novice 4 who pulled valiantly, despite having to use a heavier training shell. The race turned out to be fairly spread, and the boys (coxed by Sam Carlos) crossed the 2000 meter course in a time of 8:15.33. SPU took first with 7:27.50 and Humboldt crossed second in 7:37.09
Immediately after the Novice race was the Ltwt V4 coxed by Mackenzie Popovich. Another quick line up, this was the lightweight’s first time rowing together in a boat. But after a problem free weigh in and a smooth warm up, they confidently approached the starting line. In one of the closest races of the day, Western managed to take the lead by the 500 meter mark, and crossed in first with a time of 7:36.39, breaking contact with PLU’s boat at the 1500 meter mark. 2econd went to PLU at 7:38.35 and third was taken by Humboldt at 7:38.45.
Facing a brand new lineup having lost their stroke seat to illness and a headwind during the race, the V4 (coxed by Zac Johnson) pressured first throughout the piece, but sadly was unable to take the lead. In yet another close finish, they came in with a time of 7:46.32 to LC’s 7:44.90.
Last event of the day was the Novice 8 (coxed by Mackenzie Popovich). After hot seating their 4 seat out of the V4, the N8 raced out to the start line, and proved their impressive endurance by pulling a first in a time of 7:15.23, UPS got 7:25.50, with Humboldt coming in at 8:21.49 with a broken skeg.
Wrapping up this sunny and successful regatta was the awards ceremony. WWU Men’s Crew, having placed first in the V8, Ltwt V4+, and N8 and second in the V4, and JV4s, won the NCRC Team Title; a feat that had not been achieved in over 6 years. Presented with their medals, trophies and banner, only topped by WWU head coach Jack Marolich being named Mens coach of the year, the WWU Men’s Crew proved through performance and dedication that they are worthy to be NW conference champions. A tradition that will hopefully continue on next year.

Team Updates Coming Soon! Next up: Windermere Cup at UW

Hello family, friends, and alumni of WWU Men’s Crew,

Apologies for the lack of updates this past week! Travelling and scheduling of classes has made the past couple of weeks very busy. Nonetheless, we will have an updated article on NCRC’s and WIRA’s posted within the next couple of days!

The next race will be this Saturday at the Montlake Cut in Seattle for the Windermere Cup. WWU Men’s Varsity 8 will be rowing against UW’s  4th Varsity and their Freshman Boat along with Loyola Marymount University Varsity 8. Western’s Varsity 4 raced against LMU’s V4 at WIRA’s and was able to push ahead taking first in their heat (details about the outcome of WIRAs to come…). Now rowing in the V8, Western and LMU have new factors to take into account for their races. The race between UW, LMU and Western should be a very close and exciting race.

Please come out to see this spectacular event where crews from around the state come to compete both at the high school and collegiate level. The national team from Argentina will be racing Gonzaga, Orgeon State, Virginia, and Washington for the Windermere Cup at 11:45. Western will be racing at 10:46am. For a complete schedule see below. Please note that the Montlake Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic from 9am to 3pm so please plan accordingly. The bridge will also be raised after the last race so please make sure you get to the right side of the bridge before it goes up.

Event  Time RACES Lane 1 Lane 2 Lane 3 Lane 4 Lane 5/6
1 10:20 Mixed 4x (50+) Gorge ERA GLC OAR  
2 10:22 Men’s 8+ (age 40+) LUC SRA LWRC SLRC  
3 10:24 Women’s 8+ (age 30+) SLRC PRC LWRC SRA  
4 10:26 Mixed 8+ (age 30+) SRA LUC Gorge WRC  
5 10:28 Mixed 8+ (age 50+) BIRC VIRC MBC Cor RC  
6 10:30 Men’s 8+ (age 60+) VIRC AM LUC PRC  
7 10:32 Women’s 8+ (age 60+) CRC MRA MM MRC  
8 10:37 Men’s Varsity 4+ UW UW OSU LMU PRC/WSU
9 10:40 Women’s Varsity 4+ UW GU UW WWU Uvic/UP
10 10:43 Women’s Open 8+ UW WWU UW UP UP
11 10:46 Men’s Open 8+ UW UW LMU WWU  
12 10:48 Boy’s 4x          
13 10:52 Girl’s 4x          
14 10:54 Girl’s High School 8+          
15 10:57 Girl’s Junior Club 8+          
16 11:00 Boy’s High School 8+          
17 11:02 Boy’s Junior Club 8+          
18 11:05 Women’s Freshman 8+ UW Uvic UW WWU  
19 11:10 Men’s Freshman 8+ OSU UW UW    
20 11:20 Women’s Erickson Cascade Cup Otago UW WWU GU  
21 11:25 Men’s Erickson Cascade Cup OSU UW WSU    
22 11:35 Women’s Windermere Cup Argentina UW GU    
23 11:45 Men’s Windermere Cup UVA UW Argentina OSU  

Your continued support of Western Washington Men’s Crew is much appreciated and makes this team what it is today! Please come out this Saturday to show your support and see one of the coolest regattas in the Pacfic Northwest! Directions and parking instructions can be found here.