In terms of settings, it was hard to script the 100th running of the Cal Dual any better.
Graced with the sun-drenched skies and summer-like temperatures on Saturday, the Montlake Cut could not have produced a better day for rowing. The No. 1 Washington men’s crew program bookended the centennial edition of the race much like they began in 1903, winning the hallmark battle between the varsity eights.
For the fifth straight year, the Schoch Cup remains in Seattle after the Husky men’s varsity eight rowed away from the No. 2 Golden Bears by nearly three seconds, 5:34.95 to 5:37.61 on their 2,000-meter course. Racing in front of thousands of fans lined along the Cut and the Montlake Bridge, the Huskies never trailed their archrivals, pulling away from Cal around the 1,000-meter
Washington improved to 70-29-1 in varsity eight races in the Cal Dual.
Afterward, men’s coach Michael Callahan was pleased with the calm tenor to his boat during the race. Emotions were a concern after the Golden Bear varsity eight rowed through the previously undefeated Huskies last year at the IRA Championships to win the National Championship. Instead of seeking revenge, the Huskies coolly rowed within themselves, executing their race plan with precision.
The final objective, as always, is still the IRA Championships.
“We know the real goal is the end of the season,” Callahan said. “This is a mile post along the way. But we needed to test ourselves and see where we were. We got a good reading on our competition (too). So we know we need to get faster and better overall.”
Overall, the Huskies took 3 of 4 men’s races from the Golden Bears on their home course. The one slipup came with the freshmen 8, where a strong Cal boat was able to pull away from the Huskies right at the start, winning by more than a length at 5:42.87 to 5:48.21. Outside of a move that chewed back a few seats at the 500, the Grunties could not catch up to their rivals.
The varsity four began the morning with a strong row, shrugging off a fast Cal start to overwhelm the Golden Bears. Taking advantage of the pace set by stroke Ryan Schroeder, the Huskies were soon able to muscle back control of the race and won going away, 6:22.77 to 6:37.56.
Washington also dictated control in the second varsity eight. The Huskies showcased the depth and speed in their program with a powerful row through the Montlake Cut, winning with a time of 5:37.87, compared to the 5:47.63 margin for Cal.
Following the race, Hans Struzyna clutched the Schoch Cup and held it tight to his chest. The senior from Kirkland is a perfect 3-0 in Cal Dual races as a Husky oarsmen, and credited the rivalry for bringing out the best in both crews.
“It means a lot to the program. Obviously this rivalry is really big, big to both of us,” Struzyna said. “It’s a 100 years as of today and it means a lot to be part of something that’s bigger than all of us.”
The intensity and history between both schools drew thousands of fans to the Montlake Cut, along with the snowcapped mountains cutting a sharp figure in the distance, made for a breathtaking fan atmosphere. At one point during the race, Callahan turned to his counterpart from Cal, Mike Teti, and remarked at the splendor of the occasion.
“Here we have two great teams, a great rivalry, amazing fan base and we’re on the Montlake Cut in Seattle,” Callahan said. “Beautiful skies and flat water; it couldn’t get any better. I would say this is almost perfect.”
Lineups & Results
UW 6:22.77, Cal 6:37.56
Cox – Seamus Labrum, stroke – Ryan Schroeder, 3 – Bede Clarke, 2 – Matt Zapel, bow – Jeffrey Gibbs
Cal 5:42.87, UW 5:48.21
Cox – Dennis Ferrer, stroke – Sebastian Peter, 7 – Myles Neary, 6 – Julian Svoboda, 5 – Charles Herbert, 4 – Mike Thornton, 3 – Will Lytle, 2 – Jack Shepherd, bow – Jacob Grossman
Second Varsity 8+
UW 5:37.01, Cal 5:47.63
Michelle Darby, stroke – Dusan Milovanovic, 7 – Tom Lehmann, 6 – Maxwell Weaver, 5 – Ty Otto, 4 – Hannes Heppner, 3 – Mijo Rudelj, 2 – A.J. Brooks, bow – Jay Thompson
UW 5:34.95, Cal 5:37.61
Cox – Samuel Ojserkis, stroke – Nenad Bulicic, 7 – Alex Bunkers, 6 – Hans Struzyna, 5 – Ambrose Puttmann, 4 – Conlin McCabe, 3 – Robert Munn, 2 – Mathis Jessen, bow – Anthony Jacob