By David Conlin, Vikes Communications
SAN DIEGO, CA. – The Vikes men’s lightweight eight and women’s eight crews are in California this weekend for the San Diego Crew Classic, as they get set to compete against some of the top collegiate programs in North America.
The crews arrived in Mission Bay, San Diego Thursday night. It’s the first trip to the event for the men, who are competing for the Secretary of the Navy Cup, and third straight for the women, as they look to take home their first Jessop-Whittier Cup.
This year’s event is the 43rd iteration of the Crew Classic, which has matured from a modest beginning to become one of the largest regatta in the world held for primarily eight-oared rowing shells. Along with collegiate teams, the event also features high school junior programs, masters’ clubs and Olympic-level competition.
Action gets started early on Saturday morning, as the women’s team takes to the water in Heat B of the Jessop-Whittier field at 8:48 a.m. along with Texas Austin, USC, UCLA, and San Diego. The Vikes are penciled in for lane five in the race.
The women’s team has yet to win the event, finishing second behind UBC in 2014 and fifth in 2015. Head coach Rick Crawley expects this year’s crew to be faster than in years past, although there are also more American crews in the race than before.
“Last year was a great race—USC and Texas were a boat length out on the field but you could have thrown a blanket over the rest of us,” said Crawley. “We came 5th 1.1 seconds back of UBC in 3rd with U San Diego in between and UCLA just trailing us.”
The men’s crew hits the water for their first competition at 11:16 a.m., taking lane one in a race with MIT, Sacramento State, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Berkeley. Finals are set for 12:16 p.m. on Sunday.
For the men, the crew travelling is a young one with six freshmen and two upperclassmen in Nick Lee and Andrew Hendrickson. The lineup has been finalized with freshmen and Vikes Male Rookie of the Year Patrick Keane in a starboard stroked rig.
“The lightweight program is relatively new and this is the first real test of its ability to perform,” said freshmen coach Grant Shapka. “We are building the 8+ in hopes of driving the performance of our CU’s lightweight four which is the lightweight priority for the fall.”
c: Andrea Chan
8: Patrick Keane
7: Andrew Hendrickson
6: Graham Connell
5: Christopher Clarke
4: Amir Harding
3: Sebastian Gulka
2: Chris Gulka
1: Nickolas Lee
c: Becky Wilder
8: McKenna Simpson
7: Madeline Spangehl
6: Becca Zimmerman
5: Kirsten McKay
4: Emma Durham
3: Olivia King
2: Jessica Bateman
1: Deborah Snell