May 07 2012
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.
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