April 23, 2013

Broncos Perform Well at Stanford Invite, Look Towards WIRA Championship

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After competing at the Stanford Invitational last weekend, the Santa Clara women's rowing squad is now prepping for the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships in Sacramento, Calif.  

Stanford Invitational - Redwood Shores, Calif.  
Both the varsity and junior varsity had decent showings against strong Saint Mary's crews. For the varsity race, there was a strong cross-wind, but the crew used it as an opportunity to work on its race plan. However, Saint Mary's still bested the Varsity Eight in the first race of the day by the finals times of:  

1)St. Mary's 7:00.7
2)SCU - 7:36.7

On Saturday and Sunday the team travelled up to Redwood Shores to race St. Mary's, SDSU, and Mills in a series of round-robin races on Stanford's home course.

"We were all guests of Stanford Men's Rowing as they hosted their annual 'Stanford Invitational', said Santa Clara head coach John Wojtkiewicz. "The weather was great, the racing was good, and overall we won 2 and lost 5, but th execution of each piece was solid."

Late Saturday morning the 1st and 2nd eights faced off against St. Mary's. A cross wind was blowing but given the sheltered layout of the course, the water was calm and the wind didn't really come into play until the last 750 meters.

Knowing that the predicted margins were working against each crew, the Broncos used this opportunity to work on their race plan; to nail down their first 1000 meters with a plan that they can build off of in races to come. The first race of the day was the varsity eights.

"The margin was as expected, but the crew felt like they could have had a better start and held with St. Mary's for longer," said Wotjkiewicz. "With our new 4-5 starboard bucket rig, Coxswains Ana Burgos-Solis was having an easier time with the steering, but was still on the rudder more than I would like."

The JV race battled similar conditions and fell by final times of: 

1)St. Mary's 7:28.1
2)SCU - 7:59.6

During the afternoon, the First Eight, Second Eight and Varsity Four raced against San Diego State. SDSU outlasted the Broncos in all three races by the finals of:

First Eight:

1)SDSU - 7:20.1
2)SCU - 7:41.8

2nd Eight:
1)SDSU - 7:44.5

2)SCU - 8:11.8

Varsity Four:
1)SDSU - 8:50.4

2)SCU - 9:29.4

Sunday was a strong day for the Broncos. The Varsity faced off against Mills College and held a length lead for roughly the first 1,000 meters.  The final times were: 

1)SCU - 7:29.0
2)Mills - 7:38.1 

"They came off the water feeling like they had nailed the first thousand meters and while their second thousand wasn't the best, the sprint was solid," said Wotjkiewicz.

The JV flew through the course and set a crew-best time. Santa Clara won the race with a time of 7:42.4, while Mills finished roughly 30 seconds later at 8:16.7.

"They really put the whole thing together, and the margin off the Frist Eight (13.4 seconds) was the closest they have ever been," commented Wotjkiewicz.  

WIRAs and WCCs
The Broncos now turn their attention to the WIRA Championships in Sacramento and then the West Coast Conference races on May 17.

"We've been treating these races as practice pieces for the real deal which is WCCs on May 17th," said Wotjkiewicz "Much of what we talk about in between is how to hone our race plan, and figure out what works best for the crew. I think these races have been very productive in that sense; we ran through three race plans, in each instance tossing out what didn't work and added new things to try out.  The third iteration against Mills seemed to have the greatest success, so we can build on that plan going into next week at WIRAs."

Check back next week to see how the Broncos performed at the WIRA Championships.