Men’s Champ Eights

Impressive Win by Washington as Collegians Humble Olympians

Washington roars past the men's Great Eight before the Eliot Bridge.

Washington roars past the men’s Great Eight before the Eliot Bridge.

By Sophie Cannon – Posted on October 23, 2016

It was a day of college pride on the Charles River today, as the Men’s Championship eight race was ruled by student rowers. Leading the pack, the University of Washington stole the show, skyrocketing from their 6th place start to the winners circle.

Washington became the heroes of the race as they beat out not only two boats of Rio Olympians, but also the defending collegiate champions of Yale University.

The Huskies bested Yale, UC Berkeley, Harvard, The West End Rowing Club Great Eight, and Leander Club boat filled with British Olympians. Their time of 14:40 was 11 seconds better than runner-up Cal, 18 better than Harvard, and 23 seconds better than defending champion Yale, who was fourth.

“Anything can happen on race day but I think it really comes down to all the guys being really committed to the team and having trust in each other,” said Ezra Callahan of the University of Washington men’s championship eight team. “We were committed to finding a new speed for our team this year and we did that.”

Washington finished sixth in this race a year ago. The coach and the team decided to take the past as a learning experience and push harder than ever to change their record for the better.

“We didn’t end off our season last year the way we would have liked to, so this year we were really hungry,” said Michael Callahan, head men’s rowing coach at Washington. “It put us into the season wanting to work really hard and being prepared over the summer put us over the edge.”

The Washington euphoria was in stark contrast to the disappoint of the defending champions.  Yale University fell from first to fourth in a time of 15:03. Any chance they had of defending their title was lost when they took an awkward line through the Cambridge arch of the Eliot Bridge.

“We didn’t corner so well, especially around Elliot,” said Nathaniel Goodman of Yale. “Going through the wrong arch was the biggest surprise, I didn’t expect that going in. I excepted Cal to try and jump us like they did. I didn’t expect our steering to go as haywire as it did. Our coxswain went full rudder and got nothing. Full tilt on starboard, got nothing. Happens.”

Two more upsets came from the West End Boat Club and the Leander Boat Club, both falling short of their Olympic reputations.

Mahe Drysdale’s West End Boat Club Great Eight came in 7th place, following Boston University and  Princeton, with a time of 15:14.

Cal rower Joachim Sutton put the collegians’ domination of the Olympians into perspective, knowing they probably did not face them the top of their games.

“I’m sure they come here with a different mindset. I can’t speak for them but I heard some of them joking around and having a good time being good sports,” said Sutton. “They just crushed the Olympics so they probably took some time off while we were training”

The Leander Boat Club, with eight British Olympians, finished 13th place with a time of 15:30.

“One of those windy days where conditions also played a big part,” said Leander coach Ted Bainbridge.

 

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