Photo by: Ken Grosse/UCSD Athletics
UCSD hopes to cap off one of its best seasons ever with a strong showing in New Jersey.
Rowers Head to IRA Championships in New Jersey
Release: Wednesday 06/01/2011 
LA JOLLA, Calif. - After winning the league title at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships a month ago, the UC San Diego men's crew team is back on the water this week to compete for the national crown at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships June 2-4 in Camden, N.J.

Varsity Eight
Thursday, June 2 - 5:15 a.m. (PT)

Junior Varsity Eight
Thursday, June 2 - 6:00 a.m. (PT)

Novice Eight
Thursday, June 2 - 6:45 a.m. (PT)

The Friday, June 3 races will begin at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time with the grand final on Saturday, June 4 slated between 4:45 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., also Pacific time.

The UCSD squad departed Tuesday for Cherry Hill, N.J., located just outside of Camden, where the IRA Championships will be held on Cooper Lake. Competition begins Thursday, June 2 and concludes with the grand final on Saturday, June 4.

The Tritons will enter three boats at the event including a varsity eight, junior varsity eight and novice eight. With the nation's top Division I boats – including Washington, Cal, Wisconsin, Harvard and Princeton – all competing in the varsity eight, any finish in the top 15 by UCSD would be a major accomplishment.

Eighteen teams are in the field and three heats of six will take to the line Thursday morning. The winner of each heat will advance directly to Friday's semifinals with the remaining 15 dropping into afternoon repechages from which eight boats will join the heat winners in the semis. The top three boats in each semifinal heat will duke it out in the grand final on Saturday. The Tritons' varsity eight will race against Georgetown, Boston University, Cal, Wisconsin and Navy. The junior varsity will match-up with Yale, Harvard, Syracuse and Dartmouth in their first heat. Finally, the novice eight will take on Dartmouth, Brown, Harvard, Navy and Syracuse.

The regatta will feature the country's elite programs. The University of Washington has been tagged the favorite along with California. In 2010, UW and Cal finished ahead of the rest of the IRA grand final field in open water. The Bears managed to blast predictions by beating the Huskies to claim the championship reigns. Harvard is regarded by many as the favorite of the eastern crews. UCSD will race against Cal in its opening heat.

In the premier race, the Tritons will be sending out a slightly altered varsity eight lineup from the one that represented UCSD at the WIRA Championships. Sophomore Bryce Worley has been brought up from the junior varsity eight to fill the fifth seat and incumbent Benton Sparks has moved back to the four.

The Tritons' first appearance at the IRA Championships came in 2009, the 107th Regatta, held for the first time on the West Coast on Lake Natoma. The varsity four and freshman eight both competed in third level finals and the varsity eight took part in the fourth level final.

UCSD men's crew head coach Zach Johnson was named 2011 WIRA Coach of the Year for the third year in a row.

In April, UCSD's top boat was definitely the story at the San Diego Crew Classic. The varsity eight finished third in its heat to earn a trip to the final of the prestigious Copley Cup. By finishing in the top three, UCSD became the first WIRA representative to advance to the Copley Cup final. The Tritons, who have earned an invitation to the race three out of the last four years, were also the first boat in San Diego history to accomplish the feat.

UCSD began competition at the WIRA Championships regarded by many as the overall favorite to win the conference title. Despite difficult conditions on Lake Natoma on Apr. 30, the Tritons lived up to the high expectations. Johnson entered a varsity eight, two junior varsity eight, one novice eight and a varsity four for a total of five boats. All five advanced to the grand finals, with four boats finishing in first place in their heats.

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Friday, June 01
M Rowing at Day One
All Day
Princeton, NJ
Saturday, June 02
M Rowing at Day Two
All Day
Princeton, NJ
Sunday, June 03
M Rowing at Day Three
All Day
Princeton, NJ
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