SDSU versus USD, UCSD, Long Beach State, UCSB, UC Irvine, and Chapman
On this second spring racing weekend, the Aztecs were prepared to race “up the charts” at crews such as UCSD and UCSB. These two programs have been perennial powerhouses at the “middle level” of West Coast rowing for the past few years. The day presented mixed results for our crews … including both some disappointments and one tremendous upset victory.
In the 4s racing, our Novice 4 had its steering cable break … and so it wandered down the course out of control (being constantly warned by the official launch about steering). They came in last, as one might expect. The V4 also came in last, but they were “in” their race with UCSB and USD, being bested at the end by about one length of open water.
The Varsity 8 finished quite a bit back from powerhouse crews from UCI and UCSD. In its first race of the season, the Lightweight 8 finished well behind UCSD, UCI, and UCSB … but they were racing out of their category against UCSD and UCI – against heavyweight J.V.s (or 2Vs). Only UCSB put a lightweight crew on the water that day. They seemed to be rowing cleanly, and looked forward to racing in their own (lightweight) category a bit later in the season.
The surprise of the day – not just for our team, but in the entire regatta – occurred in the Novice 8 event. A couple of changes had been made since the Gruenberg Cup, with Ted Martin being placed into the boat at 3 and Brianna Gage taking the Coxwain’s seat. Then too, quite a lot of work had been done on the sprint … not only making it more intense, but simplifying the tactics involved.
During the race, our young Aztecs took a slight advantage over UCSD and UCSB in the early going. This was quite a surprise given the recent history of those programs. UCSD in particular had a boat filled 100% with recruited, high school-experienced rowers. However, they spotted UC Irvine almost a boatlength in the first 500 meters. Then, entering into “Aztec Country” (the body of the race – the zone wherein our superior fitness has reaped rewards so often in the past), SDSU’s yearlings made steady progress toward eclipsing Irvine’s lead.
By 1000 meters, they were only three seats down. By the 1500 meter mark, the Aztecs had taken a three seat lead over the Anteaters. Then, the unexpected happened when this young crew (smarting from losing in the sprint the week before at USC), dug deep down inside and moved out still further on UCI. By the finish line, the Aztecs were a little bit of open water ahead of the entire field! They had won the regatta … after being told that they were “racing up the charts” that day!
The final result found San Diego State Aztecs taking racing shirts from U.C. Irvine, U.C. San Diego, and U.C. Santa Barbara – all crews that we had not defeated in several years! It was quite an impressive upset, and it boded well for the future!