May 1, 2011
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. – The Gonzaga University men’s rowing team used its up-and-down spring season as motivation going into the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships and it truly showed as the Bulldogs took silver in two events and earned bronze in another on their way to winning the WIRA Efficiency Trophy and ending the weekend second in the Points Trophy.
Rowing on Lake Notoma, just outside of Sacramento, Calif., the Varsity 8+ and Novice 8+ each took second in their respective Grand Final races, while the Junior Varsity 8+ boat finished third.
The most exciting race of the day came in the Varsity 8+. Right from the start it was a battle between Gonzaga, who came into the championship seeded 11th, and UC San Diego for the top spot. Both boats battled back-and-forth in the final 500-meters and with about 250-meters to go, the Bulldogs put together one last push but UC San Diego was able hold off the Zags charge and pulled out the 1.2 second victory, closing out the course in 5:52.6. Gonzaga crossed the finish line in 5:53.8.
“It had been an up-and-down season for us but they came through today,” stated head coach Dan Gehn about his Varsity 8+ boat. “They raced up to their potential and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Washington State University, which defeated Gonzaga by a little over five seconds at the Fawley Cup April 16, only the third time in school history the Cougs defeated the Zags, finished fourth, this time a little over five seconds behind Gonzaga at 5:58.7.
“I believe that loss to Washington State on Silver Lake was the turnaround point in our season,” said Gehn. “The boat refocused their attention and believed in their potential.”
With the Varsity 8+ placing second, it secured all three 8+ boats an automatic qualifying berth into the IRA National Championships, set for June 2-4 in Cherry Hills, N. J.
The Novice 8+ started things off for the Bulldogs Sunday, using the pristine water conditions to place second in their Grand Final. Orange Coast College earned the victory with a finish of 6:06.8, followed closely by Gonzaga at 6:08.9.
The Junior Varsity 8+ led a good portion of their race but fell behind in the last 1,000. Despite falling behind, the Zags continued to row strong, pulling together a third place finish at 6:07.4, just 3.1 seconds behind UC San Diego A who won the race in 6:04.3. Orange Coast was second at 6:05.8.
Along with winning the Efficiency Cup and coming in second in the Trophy Points, Gonzaga also recaptured the West Coast Conference Championship Cup with the fastest WCC time of the weekend.
Four Gonzaga rowers were named All-WIRA; Connor Wege, Matt White, Andrew Krug, all from the Varsity 8+ boat, and David Wayne a member of the Junior Varsity 8+ boat.
Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship Results – Day 2
Lake Natoma – 2,000-meters
Varsity 8+ Grand Final
1. UC San Diego, 5:52.6
2. Gonzaga, 5:53.8
3. UCLA, 5:58.4
4. Washington State, 5:58.7
5. UC Davis, 6:01.9
6. San Diego, 6:07.5
Junior Varsity 8+ Grand Final
1. UC San Diego A, 6:04.3
2. Orange Coast, 6:05.8
3. Gonzaga, 6:07.4
4. UC San Diego B, 6:11.0
5. UC Santa Barbara, 6:12.5
6. UC Davis, 6:16.6
Novice 8+ Grand Final
1. Orange Coast, 6:06.8
2. Gonzaga, 6:08.9
3. UC San Diego, 6:11.7
4. UC Santa Barbara, 6:14.7
5. San Diego, 6:20.3
6. Washington State, 6:28.2