VANCOUVER – The University of British Columbia’s men’s and women’s rowing squads each brought home the first-place banner for the team competition at the 2014 Western Canadian University Rowing Championship in Calgary. The ‘Birds women brought home three golds, while the men’s side garnered four.

It was quite a showdown in CowTown as 215 competitors from seven universities took part. In both men’s and women’s races, the aggregate points total was neck and neck. UBC was tied with their rivals from the University of Victoria Vikes after the six-point races in the Varsity Heavyweight Four, Lightweight Four, Heavy Pair, Light Double, Heavy Single, and Light Single. In the case of a points tie, the Eight is used as the tiebreaker. This weekend, UBC forged their leads over the Vikes in the Eight event and into the gusty headwinds that whipped up the course.

On the women’s side, the women took gold in three of the six events. Emmie Page coxed the women’s Eight of Katherine Enns, Zoe Fettig-Winn, Miranda Kirker, Hillary Janssens, Emily Gerson, Rachel Vukovich, Julie Sheppard, and Jannelle Mackoff to gold in a time of 05:15.18. The ‘Birds Heavy Four also witnessed a dominant performance as Page again coxed Miranda Kirker, Enns, Gerson, and Zoe Fettig-Winn to gold (05:41.29) beating the Vikes by a 12.56-second margin. The T-Birds also triumphed in the Heavy Single event as both Enns and Vukovich took first and second. Second-place finishes were earned in all other events. The junior varsity women also drove their bow out for wins in the Eight and a late charge win at the line in the Four. This years win marks the third WCURC banner for the women in a row.

The men demonstrated good depth in the program with very competitive races from the whole roster. The varsity men took home gold in four of the six events. Similarly, the men’s side took gold in the eight. Second-year Madeliene Chercover coxed Ben Coull, Harris Sheldon, Ben de Wit, James Allen, Alex Janzen, Doug Euper, Brock Euper, and Harlan Dohm to victory with a time of 04:44.66. Chercover would also cox the Heavy Four event of Coull, Sheldon, de Wit, and Allen to victory in 4:58.23. UBC’s Light Four of Aaron Lattimer, Angus Todd, Marcus van der Sande, and Callum Mackenzie was coxed by Kevin Chung, and also placed first finishing in 5:09.52. UBC’s Alex Janzen raced the Heavy Single and was victorious (6:06.49) in a race that went down to the wire. Janzen edged out the second-place Victoria boat by 0.33. All other events received second-places finishes. UBC’s two men’s 2- entries also turned in a strong performance despite running into each other twice to end up just 1.5 seconds down on UVic. The junior varsity men had an excellent regatta coming first and third in the JV Men’s Eight and third and fourth in the seven-boat Open Eight.

Both men and women’s team captains were happy with the overall performance this weekend.

“We have been putting in a lot of hard work, so it was exciting to get the result that we did this weekend.” said men’s team captain Todd.

Women’s team captain Vukovich also noted that “as the day continued, it became more and more apparent that all the long hours we’ve been putting in have paid off.”

Both team captains also praised the JV crews as both showed speed and maturity in the results that they garnered.

“With less than two weeks until CU’s we need to make sure we stay focused, put our noses right back to the grind stone, and find every little bit of speed we can.” said Todd.

Next up for both men and women’s junior varsity crews is the Head of the Gorge October 25-26 at the Gorge Waterway in Victoria. Varsity men and women will next be competing at the Canadian University Rowing Championships October 31- November 1 at Elk Lake in Victoria.