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.