April 20, 2009

GOLD RIVER, Calif. - California's third-ranked varsity 8+ defeated No. 2 Stanford and No. 16 Wisconsin in its Group 1 final to propel the Golden Bears to the overall Group 1 victory on Sunday at the Lake Natoma Invitational and wrap up the two-day regatta it co-hosted with Sacramento State. Cal posted a time of 6:20.56 in its varsity 8+ final to Stanford's 6:29.41 and Wisconsin's 6:31.85. The Bears won Group 1 with 16 points, followed by Stanford (13) and Wisconsin (7).

The regatta followed a format in which Saturday's results determined which of the three groups each team competed in on Sunday. The three top point scorers among the teams on Saturday competed in Sunday's Group 1 races, the next three top point scorers competed in Group 2 and the following three point scorers competed in Group 3.

UCLA tied with Minnesota with 13 points each in Group 2; the teams' varsity 8+ finish was the tiebreaker and gave the Bruins the overall Group 2 win. The Golden Gophers were second and Tennessee (10 points) was third in Group 2. In the varsity 8+ Group 2 final, UCLA's 19th-ranked boat (6:33.90) defeated No. 20 Minnesota (6:36.41) and Tennessee (6:40.93) at Lake Natoma, which will also host the Pac-10 Rowing Championships on May 17.

The three teams in Group 3 wound up with 12 points each. The varsity 8+ placing tiebreaker determined that regatta co-host Sacramento State won the Group 3 title, Texas was second and Central Florida was third. Sacramento State (6:41.80) won the Group 3 varsity 8+ final in an exciting finish over second-place Texas (6:42.37) and third-place Central Florida (6:45.77).

Stanford (6:32.77) claimed the second varsity 8+ Group 1 final over second-place Cal (6:38.28), which edged a hard-charging Wisconsin boat (6:39.42) at the finish line.

"Our varsity eight, we went 6:20.5, which is fast," Cal head coach Dave O'Neill said. "The Cal 2005 varsity eight set a record at 6:20.7, so today's time was fast. With our second varsity eight, we have a good solid team. I think we have to get 6:32 [to succeed at the NCAA Championships], and that's what Stanford did today. I know within our team we can put together a boat that does that. So everyone needs to focus on getting faster. We have some really good kids, so there's going to be some open competition in the coming weeks."

In the varsity 4+ Group 1 final, Cal (7:23.94) beat second-place Wisconsin (725.54) and third-place Stanford (7:42.62).

"In the four, we have another four that goes the exact same speed as that four," O'Neill added. "Our selection process is going to be, `Okay, who improves the most in the next month.' There should be some exciting practices."

Central Florida (6:53.20) won the novice 8+ grand final over the second-place Bears (7:00.38) and third-place Sacramento State (7:10.93).

O'Neill, who played a big role in the creation of the first-year Lake Natoma Invitational, lauded the regatta's organization.

"From the coaches' perspective, it was great," he said. "Not just because our team was successful, but there was fair racing, everything runs on time, we get accurate times. What we were looking to do was get strong teams from different regions racing here so we could take some of the decision-making out of the NCAA selection committee's hands, and I think we accomplished that. The feedback from the format was very good, so we're very satisfied."

Cal returns to the water when it races Washington and the Huskies' seventh-ranked varsity 8+ on Saturday, April 25, on Montlake Cut in Seattle.

Lake Natoma Invitational

Final Group Standings

Group 1 1. California 16 points. 2. Stanford 13. 3. Wisconsin 7.

Group 2 1. UCLA 13 points*. 2. Minnesota 13. 3. Tennessee 10.

Group 3 1. Sacramento State 12 points*. 2. Texas 12. 3. Central Florida 12.

*Won varsity 8+ final tiebreaker

Cal Results from Sunday, April 19

Varsity 4+ Group 1 Final 1. California 7:23.94. 2. Wisconsin 7:25.54. 3. Stanford 7:42.62. Cal: Cox: Katie Luke. Stroke: Kira Jepson. 3: Avalon Radys. 2: Katie Caves. Bow: Vanna Rocchi.

Second Varsity 8+ Group 1 Final 1. Stanford 6:32.77. 2. California 6:38.28. 3. Wisconsin 6:39.42. Cal: Cox: Jill Costello. Stroke: Adrienne Keller. 7: Kelsey Bates. 6: Elise Etem. 5: Shay Seager. 4: Kaiti Seders. 3: Bridget Moran. 2: Sam Sartor. Bow: Melissa Herman.

Varsity 8+ Group 1 Final 1. California 6:20.56. 2. Stanford 6:29.41. 3. Wisconsin 6:31.85. Cal: Cox:: Katy Milton. Stroke: Iva Obradovic. 7: Lauren Nowinski. 6: Elena Humphreys. 5: Taryn O'Connell. 4: Nora Franzen. 3: Lou Kinder. 2: Mary Jeghers. Bow: Kristina Löfman.

Novice 8+ Grand Final 1. Central Florida 6:53.20. 2. California 7:00.38. 3. Sacramento State 7:10.93. Cal: Cox: Ariel Suares. Stroke: Charlotte Palmer. 7: Taylor Christensen. 6: Kellie Nolan. 5: Stephanie Stone. 4: Tanya Wolfram. 3: Ali Newton. 2: Tyler Christovale. Bow: Karina Rivera.

Cal Afternoon Results from April 18

Varsity 4+ Heat 1. California 7:26.84. 2. Minnesota 7:31.78. 3. Texas 7:54.02. Cal: Cox: Erica Bellis. Stroke: Kira Jepson. 3: Kirsten Campbell. 2: Katie Caves. Bow: Vanna Rocchi

Second Varsity 8+ Heat 1. California 6:42.00. 2. Minnesota 6:57.21. 3. Texas 6:57.69. Cal: Cox: Jill Costello. Stroke: Adrienne Keller. 7: Kelsey Bates. 6: Elise Etem. 5: Shay Seager. 4: Sam Sartor. 3: Bridget Moran. 2: Laurel Kuhn. Bow: Melissa Herman.

Varsity 8+ Heat 1. California 6:28.09. 2. Minnesota 6:45.93. 3. Texas 6:51.63. Cal: Cox: Katy Milton. Stroke: Iva Obradovic. 7: Lauren Nowinski. 6: Elena Humphreys, 5: Taryn O'Connell. 4: Nora Franzen. 3: Kaiti Seders. 2: Mary Jeghers. Bow: Lou Kinder.

Cal Morning Results from April 18

Second Varsity 8+ Heat 1. California 6:39.56. 2. Central Florida 6:52.79. 3. Tennessee 6:57.26. Cal: Cox: Jill Costello. Stroke: Adrienne Keller. 7: Kelsey Bates. 6: Elise Etem. 5: Shay Seager. 4: Sam Sartor. 3: Bridget Moran. 2: Laurel Kuhn. Bow: Melissa Herman.

Varsity 8+ Heat 1. California 6:25.12. 2. Tennessee 6:43.38. 3. Central Florida 6:51.45. Cal: Cox: Katy Milton. Stroke: Iva Obradovic. 7: Lauren Nowinski. 6: Elena Humphreys, 5: Taryn O'Connell. 4: Nora Franzen. 3: Kaiti Seders. 2: Mary Jeghers. Bow: Lou Kinder.

Varsity 4+ Heat 1. California 7:18.3. 2. Central Florida 7:35.9. 3. Tennessee 8:02.3. Cal: Cox: Katie Luke. Stroke: Kira Jepson. 3: Avalon Radys. 2: Katie Caves. Bow: Vanna Rocchi.

Novice 8+ Heat 1. California 6:59.12. 2. Sacramento State 7:10.52. 3. UCLA 7:24.92. Cal: Cox: Ariel Suares. Stroke: Charlotte Palmer. 7: Taylor Christensen. 6: Kellie Nolan. 5: Stephanie Stone. 4: Tanya Wolfram. 3: Ali Newton. 2: Tyler Christovale. Bow: Karina Rivera.