Lowell, Ore. – The Oregon State men’s rowing team topped Gonzaga and the University of Victoria in three of the four races Saturday morning in its first event of the spring season.
The Varsity 8+ hit the water at 10 a.m., but got off to a slow start in the rough water and cross wind. Once they settled into the middle of the race, the Beavs created distance between Gonzaga, and continued to hang with the University of Victoria, who was handling the conditions very well and applying power throughout the race.
Despite posting a time of 6:02.0, the Beavers were bested by Victoria who posted a 5:57.0. Gonzaga followed up in third with a 6:11.9.
"Getting our first race under our belt this early in the year is great; there's a lot to work on in the next four weeks before we race again,” said Head Coach Steve Todd. “We had some decent spots in our race, but overall it was a struggle to be our best on a windy racecourse."
The Junior Varsity 8+ was able to make steady progress in the second half of the race, posting a 6:19.8. Early on, they were down to Victoria and even with Gonzaga. Nearing halfway, Victoria nosed out ahead of OSU who had a slight lead on Gonzaga.
The Beavers final sprint was very strong and they moved past Victoria to take the lead, with Gonzaga following in third. Kyle Wilkins, the Junior Stroke Seat, set a nice tone and aggressive rhythm in the final sprint.
"I liked the fight from the JV crew today,” Todd said. “They kept composed in the rough water and then poured on the effort in the last half of the race, a very solid effort."
Oregon State’s Third Varsity/Freshman 8+ really powered through the conditions, posting a time of 6:32.9 to come in first. The “Frosh 8+” was able to push past a rough start, moving out on Gonzaga in the first third of the race. In the second half of the race, OSU continued to move away from Gonzaga while the Beavers Second “Frosh” crew raced hard to press the Gonzaga Third Varsity, posting a 6:36.4.
"It was the first race for a lot of guys in that crew, so challenging conditions are stressful,” said Todd. “But they performed as needed and came away with a win to start their racing experience."
The Beavs’ Varsity 4+ crew raced last in the men’s schedule and had very challenging water to deal with. Oregon State’s “A” boat, stroked by freshman Grant VanKampen, kept good speed going in really rough water. The Beavs were able to row well in conditions that could have been distracting.
The top four had two freshmen, who had raced in the early race, as well as two upperclassmen. Oregon State’s Varsity 4+ posted a time of 7:16.6.
"Sometime is comes down to simply wanting to make the boat go fast,” Todd said. “The four's race wasn't pretty, but great effort from the crew led them to a win."
With this first race in the books, the Beavs have kick started their spring season and are looking toward their next race.
"It was a decent starting point for the spring season; we saw some good racing and some conditions that really tested the crews,” Todd said. “It's exciting to get four weeks to get everyone healthy and work on what we need to get better at.”
The Beavers next hit the water on April 5 for the Husky Open in Seattle, Wash.