A stormy Central Florida forecast meant a double-header for the Huskies, as the NCAA grand finals originally scheduled for Sunday were moved up to Saturday afternoon.
The semifinals were held in the morning, where Washington took first place in two of its three races. The only loss came at the hands of long-time rival California in the first varsity eight as Cal (6:19.608) edged out the Huskies (6:21.286) by just under two seconds.
The Dawgs cruised to victories in the second varsity eight and varsity four, defeating Michigan and Texas in a 2V8+ race resembling the regatta between the three schools earlier this season.
That day, Michigan edged out Texas for second place by about two seconds, and the result was the same today — Michigan finished in 6:34.199 to Texas’s 6:36.159. Washington took the top spot with a time of 6:28.734.
Washington (7:06.152) also took first place in the varsity four, finishing more than six seconds ahead of Ohio State (7:12.389) and Michigan (7:14.035). Virginia, Brown and Iowa finished fourth through sixth.
The afternoon session took place a few hours later, starting with the varsity eight. Cal once again took first place in a close and competitive race, finishing in 6:14.86 to Washington’s 6:16.54. Texas came in third with a time of 6:17.80.
The Pac-12 powerhouses continued to go back and forth, as the Huskies grabbed the victory for the second time in the 2V8+. They finished with a time of 6:21.081, while Cal finished second with 6:27.201. Virginia, Michigan, Texas and Yale rounded out the field.
With only the varsity four remaining, the team points tally had Cal just ahead of Washington, 108-107.
The race that would decide the NCAA champion was close throughout. At 1500 meters, the two crews were virtually even — Cal with a time of 5:16.436, Washington with 5:16.642.
Cal (7:00.798) would go on to win the race, and the team NCAA title, beating out Washington (7:01.626) by less than a second. Washington finished the day with 128 points, two shy of Cal’s 130.
It’s the fourth NCAA championship in program history for Cal and the Bears’ second in three years.
Reach contributing writer Jordan Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @JordanDuncan43