Varsity 8 and Second Varsity 8 Advance to Grand Finals at WIRA Championships
SACRAMENTO – The University of California men’s rowing team recorded a pair of first-place finishes in their heats on the first day of competition at the WIRA Championships on Saturday, earning trips to tomorrow’s grand finals of the Men’s Varsity 8 and Second Varsity 8.
“It was a good set of heats today,” said Head Coach Zach Johnson. “The Varsity 8 performed well against a really good Santa Clara team. The real test will be tomorrow when everyone is at their best and we have to go against a Gonzaga boat that has already beaten us this year. Our JV boat made great improvements and showed the speed we have been looking for all season. This is a tune up race for us. We have to keep pushing as we march towards Western Sprints Championships. Hopefully tomorrow will be another good benchmark.”
The day opened with the Men’s Varsity 8 heats. In heat two, the Tritons were pitted against San Diego State, Santa Clara, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and Western Washington. UC San Diego crossed the finish line at the 5:59.462 mark, capturing first place. Rounding out the top three were Santa Clara (6:00.706), who the Tritons edged out by a little over a second, and UC Santa Barbara (6:05.672). Not only was the Tritons’ time the best of their heat, it was also the best of both heats, as Gonzaga turned in a mark of 6:01.638 to place first in the other Men’s Varsity 8 race.
The Second Varsity 8 crew followed suit, with a top finish of their own. It was a commanding performance by the Tritons, as they topped Santa Clara, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and Western Washington. With their time of 6:06.508, they were over seven seconds faster than second-place Santa Clara. The Tritons’ mark was also almost 10 seconds better than heat one’s leader, UC Davis (6:16.495).
The Tritons also took part in heat one of the Men’s Varsity 4, taking on Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, UC Davis, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara. Posting a time of 7:10.046, UC San Diego earned fourth place and a spot in the B final.
Competing in the afternoon’s B final, the Tritons took on Humboldt State, Lewis & Clark, PLU, San Diego B, and UC Irvine. UC San Diego improved on its time from earlier, turning in a mark of 7:09.719 for fourth. The Tritons and San Diego B (7:09.461) were neck and neck, as UC San Diego finished just under 0.3 seconds behind them.
UC San Diego will be back in action tomorrow. The WIRA Championships will resume in the morning, beginning at 8 a.m.
Second Varsity 8:
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With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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