SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The UC San Diego men's crew team finished with high marks Saturday as the Tritons claimed their 10th consecutive San Diego City Championship on a choppy Mission Bay.
The UCSD Varsity boat has now won the title every year since 2004, the longest run by any of the three schools involved (UCSD, San Diego State, University of San Diego) over the regatta's 45-year history.
"I am going to say this a lot this year, but I am just simply impressed with our team's attitude this season," said UCSD head coach Zach Johnson. "We struggled last week in our first event, but we got some important student-athletes back from injury and everyone stayed focused and worked hard all week to correct mistakes that cost us wins last week."
Due to gusty winds and the chop, the Varsity, JV and Novice events were run as a best-of-three races, with the pieces going six minutes, four minutes and three minutes in length.
In the first Varsity event, the Tritons jumped on USD in the starting minute, pushing out to a boat-length lead. The Toreros put on a steady move in the middle of the race to pull within five seats, but UCSD was able to finish strong and pull the lead back to about a boat length to take the victory.
In the second Varsity event, USD was determined not to repeat its mistakes and pushed extremely hard in the first minute, beating UCSD off the start and pulling out to a three-seat lead. At the two minute mark, UCSD coxswain and team captain Sean Dougherty calmed his boat down and pushed the young crew back out in front in one giant move that put UCSD ahead by a boat-length at the end of the piece.
In the final Varsity piece of the day, UCSD was again able to jump on USD in the first minute, but not move away quite as well as it did in the first race. In the rough water the Tritons were able to find a lot of power through the middle of the race and their fitness took over as they opened up their biggest margin of the day to secure the three-race sweep.
For the JV, which had won last week in Long Beach, the boat struggled to find a good rhythm as the Tritons fell behind almost immediately. Although they hung in and fought, they had problems applying power in the middle of the race. They were able to keep within five to six seats the majority of the race, but could not get back to even.
The story was similar in the second race, as USD was able to jump on UCSD early and control the race, winning by almost the same margin.
In the final JV race, the UCSD coaching staff switched in sophomore Sina Pourcyrous. Pourcyrous brought new energy to the boat as the Tritons were able to finish a boat-length ahead.
The last event of the day was the Novice races, where UCSD saw perhaps the biggest improvement from last weekend. The addition of freshmen Jack Maxson, Anthony Perretta and Daniel Mahan made a a noticable difference in a boat that struggled in its first regatta. The Tritons fought hard against the Toreros, winning the first race by six seats, tying the second and pulling off a narrow victory in the third to win the overall regatta.
"We found depth and attitude this week and we were able to beat a team I have nothing but respect for," said Johnson. "Our team worked hard to keep our City Championship streak alive. They met the challenge of the bad weather and wind and handled the situation like true athletes. I can't wait to see what we can accomplish in practice this week."
UCSD returns to Mission Bay on Friday, March 15 to host Gonzaga and San Diego.
-- UCSDtritons.com --