In a series of dominant performances on Sunday, No. 2 Stanford women’s rowing outpaced its competitors on Oregon’s Dexter Lake to claim the Cardinal’s first Pac-12 title since 2014. Their counterparts on the No. 10 men’s rowing team also had a solid day on the water, taking fourth place in the Pac-12 Championships.
Women take Pac-12 title
The women’s team won four of its five races on the day, beating out its conference rival No. 1 University of Washington, by a slim margin of 2.5 points. The Cardinal walked away from the regatta with 43.5 points to the Huskies’ 41.
Having won the last four Pac-12 titles, Washington came into the meet looking to extend its title streak. The Stanford squad, on the other hand, sought to break from tradition after finishing second in the last seven championships. Both brought this drive to the Pac-12 regatta.
Stanford’s novice eight began their day on the water with a tight victory over the Huskies, overtaking Washington in the last 500 meters to win the race by a mere 0.04 seconds.
Next up was the third varsity boat, which topped Washington by over three seconds and collected 3.5 points towards Stanford’s team total in the process.
Following up their teammates’ strong performances in the first two races, Stanford’s varsity four had an inspired showing. Following a slow start, the boat found its rhythm as the race progressed to storm back and edge out Washington’s boat by more than four seconds. The win gave the Cardinal a small lead in the team standings.
The second varsity eight continued this momentum with its third straight second-place finish, narrowly missing out on victory over the Huskies by a little over a second.
While the Cardinal had held their own and then some throughout the regatta, they found themselves trailing Washington by half a point going into the varsity eights. This single race would decide the conference championship.
And Stanford’s varsity eight rose to the occasion, winning the race by over five seconds to end the Huskies’ four-year run as conference champions and claim their first Pac-12 title in eight years.
Additionally, Stanford’s senior coxswain Nicole Pofcher was recognized as the Pac-12 Women’s Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Pofcher is just the sixth member of the women’s rowing team in history to receive the honor.
After claiming an automatic NCAA bid through its conference victory, the team will spend the next fortnight preparing for the NCAA Championships. They will take place May 27-29 in Sarasota, Fla. Stanford will look to follow up its strong second-place showing in last year’s championships.
Fourth place for the men
On the men’s side, Stanford went into the meet with a successful legacy to uphold. The Cardinal’s fourth place finish on Dexter Lake kept alive their decades-long streak of finishing in the top four, something they have not failed to once do since 1984.
Cal dominated the team event, taking the Pac-12 title by seven points on Sunday. Stanford wrapped up the day well behind the lead, with 42 points.
The Cardinal finished on the podium in both of its races, with third place finishes in the second varsity eight and the varsity eight.
The team now looks ahead to its next event, the IRA Championships. They will be held in West Windsor, N.J. from June 3-5.