By Ali Lee, with files from UBC Athletics
(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes women brought home their 21st Brown Cup title following a record-breaking win over UBC on Apr. 6 on the Fraser River in Richmond, B.C. The annual UBC-Victoria head-to-head meet trades locations between the Gorge, in Victoria, and the Fraser River, while both teams compete with a varsity and reserve crew.
In their 23rd meet up the Vikes women crossed in 10:28.27 ahead of UBC (10:28.75), while also setting a new course record.
“In all my years of coaching this was absolutely the best race I have ever watched,” said an elated head coach Rick Crawley following Saturday’s performance. “I was so proud of the girls. They rowed with poise, grit and determination. I am usually a calm coaching talking to my crew post regatta but in all honesty I lost it emotionally over the exceptional performance I had just witnessed.”
This is the 21st Brown Cup title for the Vikes women, with UBC winning just two in 2014 and 2009.
To top it off the Vikes women’s reserve boat also had a great performance. This crew suffered a collision during the race and had to have a restart and following that the Vikes never looked back. The reserve crew crossed in 11:31.79 ahead of UBC, who were 11:34.50. This is the fourth meeting in the reserves race with Victoria now winning three and UBC winning just one in 2014.
The UBC Thunderbirds men won a very close but controversial race to take their fourth-consecutive Brown Cup, narrowing the Vikes’ all-time lead to 17-7.
The Vikes men led by three quarters of a boat length early on in the race but repetitive blade clashing led to a collision and a restart of the race. UBC took advantage of the line and current through the next arm of the race. The Vikes responding well with an aggressive drive and long rhythm through the home stretch but UBC’s last lift pushed them across the line in the narrowest margin in Brown Cup history by a mere 0.03 seconds.
A flurry of protest and meetings followed but the umpires finally awarded the race to the Thunderbirds.
“The 2015 varsity men’s race is the kind of race that will be discussed for years to come with repetitive oar clashing, collision causing race stoppage, reversals of position and the narrowest margin of victory in the history of this event,” said Aalbert Van Schothorst, head coach of the Vikes men. “
The Vikes reserve boat won their race in 11:31.79 over UBC (11:34.50). The Vikes set a new course record on the Fraser River and came from behind.
“This crew is the future of the program and shows the incredible youthful depth that the Vikes program currently has,” added Van Schothorst.
2015 Brown Cup Results
MEN – Varsity
1. UBC 10:25.72
2. Victoria 10:25.75
MEN – Reserves
1. Victoria 9:40.01
2. UBC 9:41.18
WOMEN – Varsity
1. Victoria 10:28.25
2. UBC 10:28.75
WOMEN – Reserves
1. Victoria 11:31.79
2. UBC 11:34.50