Johnson Earns WIRA Coach of the Year, Four Selected for All-WIRA Honors
LA JOLLA, Calif. – The No. 25 University of California men’s rowing team has earned four All-Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) accolades, and Head Coach Zach Johnson has earned the title of WIRA Coach of the Year. Steven Bolton and Jason Germain received All-WIRA First Team nods, while Greg Coffman and Victor de Cos were named to the All-WIRA Second Team.
Johnson is in his 13th season at the helm of the men’s rowing program. Under his guidance, the Tritons came away with a sweep at the WIRA Championships, securing wins in the Varsity 8, Second Varsity 8, and Third Varsity 8 grand finals. The feat has not been accomplished by a team in at least a decade. Since the Tritons’ accomplishment, all three boats have earned spots in the (IRA)/USRowing Varsity 8+ Polls.
“To be honest, the best feeling is just being recognized by your peers,” said Johnson about his honor. “We have so many great coaches that I respect so much in our sport. It is just an honor to be recognized by all those individuals who I am just trying to do my best to keep up with.”
First team honorees Bolton and Germain were both key in the Varsity 8 boat’s victory. In the sixth and seven seats, respectively, the pair helped the Tritons capture first in an incredibly tight race. UC San Diego was dead even with Santa Clara and Gonzaga late in the race, but the Tritons pulled ahead to finish in first with a time of 5:53.812.
“Jason and Steven are the only athletes who have been in the Varsity boat each of the last three years, and have lost WIRAs by a total of less than three seconds over that time period,” Johnson recounted about his first teamers. “The both of them in tandem in the stern absolutely brought that mentality of seizing that opportunity when it presented itself and helped drive them through the finish line.”
Second team recipient Coffman helped the Second Varsity 8 boat to success, while fellow honoree de Cos contributed to the Third Varsity 8 crew’s victory. The Second Varsity 8 crossed the finish line at 6:02.419 to defeat five foes, while the Third Varsity 8 crew won by open water, defeating two competitors with a mark of 6:12.726.
“Greg and Victor are just natural born leaders,” Johnson praised his second team honorees. “Greg has spent most of the last two years in the Varsity and continues to make a case for making that boat even faster. The same with Victor, who has rowed in every boat and no matter what just continues to keep getting better and keep winning. Both are captains and both bring the idea of ‘team first’ in every boat they get into, which is what makes our team so deep.”
Johnson will look to continue to guide the team to success at the upcoming Western Sprints Championships. The competition will take place on May 11 in Rancho Cordova.
About UC San Diego Athletics
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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