No. 1 Husky women win three of four races over Cal, but Bears rally in varsity eight

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The University of Washington women’s rowing team competes against Cal on April 27, 2019. (Photography by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures) (Scott Eklund / Red Box Pictures)

Just because it wasn’t perfect didn’t mean it wasn’t a great morning for the Washington women’s crew team.

The top-ranked Huskies won three of four races against No. 2 California in their dual match on the Montlake Cut, with the Golden Bears avoiding the sweep by rallying to win the varsity eight, the final event of the day and the biggest.

Washington won the third varsity eight and the second varsity eight by open water, and held off a late Cal charge to win the varsity four by two seats.

The Huskies looked strong early in the varsity eight, easily adapting to the choppy conditions on Lake Washington on a cool and breezy morning. They led by 2.2 seconds midway through the race (1,000 meters), but Cal, which defeated UW in the varsity eight three weeks ago in San Diego, did not fold.

The Golden Bears surged to the lead with 500 meters left and won by about six seats (6 minutes, 40.739 seconds to UWs’ 6:42.925).

“What a day,” UW coach Yaz Farooq said. “It was a little bit of survival rowing to a certain extent. We also know that the national championships in Indianapolis (May 31-June 2) can be very windy too. It never hurt to race in this for sure, and I thought the racing was excellent. It’s awesome to come away with three wins … and I thought that varsity eight race was one of the most exciting duels with Cal that we have had.”


Farooq said she got excited when her varsity eight led midway through the race, and emphasized the positive when talking to her group after the race.

“I was certainly hopeful that we could get our bow across the line first, but they’re the national champions and a very seasoned boat and it was well fought to the final stroke,” she said. “I told them I thought they handled the water incredibly well in the beginning. It was really white capping, and I was impressed with how smooth they looked in the waves. That was great, but when they got in the better water, I didn’t think they were gripping it as well as they could and that’s where Cal got ahead.”

The Bears retained the Simpson Cup by winning the varsity eight competition for the 15th time in the past 16 competitions. UW’s last victory in the varsity eight came in 2013, but the Huskies still hold a 23-20 series edge.

The teams will meet twice more this season, first in the Pac-12 championships (May 19) and in the national championships, where UW will try to avenge finishing second to Cal last year.

“I feel good about where all of our boats are at this point in the season,” Farooq said. “It would have been awesome to have four boats win today, but the competitiveness of that varsity eight is incredibly heartening for us.”

The morning began with the She Will Win Regatta for youth and masters women’s crews. Karle Pittsinger, UW’s team captain last year, founded the She Will Win organization last year and it aims to educate the community on inequalities girls face within sports.


“It was so cool to see women of all ages out on the cut, starting at 8 o’clock,” Farooq said. “You look at these college women today and they are able to compete and earn scholarships, but that wasn’t always the case for the women in the 60s, 70s and the 80s.”

The UW lineups for Saturday’s races:

Varsity Eight

Cox: Marley Avritt (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor)

Stroke: Tabea Schendekehl (Dortmund, Germany)

7: Marlee Blue (Seattle, Wash./Holy Names Academy)

6: Sofia Asoumanaki (Athens, Greece)

5: Mackenna Cameron (Seattle, Wash./Chief Sealth Int’l.)

4: Teal Cohen (Dallas, Texas/The Hockaday School)

3: Carmela Pappalardo (Salerno, Italy)

2: Jennifer Wren (Seattle Wash./Bishop Blanchet)

Bow: Calina Schanze (Behlendorf, Germany)

Second Varsity Eight

Cox: Amanda Durkin (Hingham, Mass./Hingham)

Stroke: Klara Grube (Lübeck, Germany)

7: Lark Skov (Steamboat Springs, Colo./Steamboat Springs)

6: Elise Beuke (Sequim, Wash./Sequim)

5: Holly Dunford (Tadworth, U.K.)

4: Molly Gallaher (Snoqualmie, Wash./Skyline)

3: Valentina Iseppi (Gardone Riviera, Italy)

2: Skylar Jacobson (Lakewood, Wash./Steilacoom)

Bow: Adele Likin (Seattle, Wash./Roosevelt)

Varsity Four

Stroke: Holly Drapp (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest)

3: Kieanna Stephens (Vancouver, B.C., Canada)

2: McKenna Bryant (Kent, Wash./Kennedy Catholic)

Bow: Emma Vagen (Kent, Wash./Kentwood)

Cox: Isabella Corriere (Montclair, N.J./Montclair)

Third Varsity Eight

Cox: Dana Brooks (Tiburon, Calif./Redwood)

Stroke: Dimitra Tsamopoulou (Athens, Greece)

7: Ella Cossill (Gold Coast, Australia)

6: Ellie Bruce (Snoqualmie, Wash./Mount Si)

5: Taylor Buell (Olympia, Wash./Capital)

4: Rachel McGlothlen (Spokane, Wash./West Valley)

3: Jenna Phillips (Dayton, Wash./Dayton)

2: Marguerite Trost (Nashville, Tenn./Harpeth Hall School)

Bow: Denise Devlyn (Austin, Texas/St. Stephen’s Episcopal)