LA JOLLA, Calif. -
The UC San Diego men's crew team will have several boats competing this weekend at the 2011 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships outside of Sacramento. The races will be held on Lake Natoma in Gold River, beginning Saturday and concluding on Sunday with competition getting underway at 8:00 a.m.
Head coach Zach Johnson will enter a varsity eight, two junior varsity eight, one novice eight and a varsity four for a total of five boats this weekend. After putting together a strong racing season, many feel the Tritons are the favorite in the varsity eight and junior varsity eight races.
"We have had a great regular season and want to continue that into the postseason," Johnson said.
The Tritons will face off with many of the top crew programs on the west coast this weekend, including UCLA, Washington State and UC Irvine.
At the WIRA Championships last season, UCSD captured the Efficiency Trophy, which is given to the program with the best results based on number of boats. Of the Tritons' three boats entered, the junior varsity eight took first place and the novice eight finished second in its race. The varsity eight boat crossed the line in sixth place after experiencing some very difficult wind conditions.
A second Efficiency Trophy appears to be well within the Tritons' reach again this season.
UCSD is coming off a strong performance at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championships April 16-17, where they advanced all three of their boats to the finals and finished second in two out of the three races. Despite falling to the University of Virginia in both the junior varsity eight and novice eight, the Tritons put the collegiate rowing world on notice with their strong performance in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
"We have high expectations and are bringing in some solid momentum," Johnson concluded. "Being picked as the favorite helps to create those expectations, but we will make sure to come prepared. We hope to perform well as a program and continue to show our depth."
UCSD will be looking to qualify for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships, which are scheduled for June 2-4 in Camden, N.J. this weekend.
For a complete WIRA Championship schedule, visit www.gowira.org.