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Top-ranked UW crew teams travel for dual races

The Washington crew program will be spread out across the Pacific Northwest this weekend.

The majority of the No. 1 men’s team kicks off its spring season at Dexter Lake, Ore., to face Oregon State, while the No. 8 women’s team heads east to Pullman, Wash., to face Washington State.

The men’s team is in the same position that the women were in last weekend, in that it is facing its first competition. Months of preparation leading up to the season have the UW excited to get on the water to compete with the Beavers.

“Finally, we’re going to have the ability to put on our uniform and race this weekend,” men’s head coach Michael Callahan said. “So I know there’s a lot of excitement around the boathouse and just that extra little bit of excitement in the air.”

For the past few years, Oregon State has traveled north to the Montlake Cut to race the UW, but the Pac-10 recently passed a rule stating teams must alternate race sites each year. Because they aren’t used to travelling to face the Beavers, the Huskies have little familiarity with Dexter Lake.

“The scouting report is that it can get pretty windy,” Callahan said. “But it’s an outdoor sport, so a lot of the places we go, it can be windy.”

Senior Maxwell Weaver, captain of the men’s team, raced on Dexter Lake in high school, but there’s still an overwhelming sense of uncertainty about the course for the UW as a team.

“We just want to go out there, get on the water and do the best that we can,” he said. “We’ve been training hard, so we want to test our speed [and] see where we’re at.”

The women’s team had its first taste of competition last weekend in the San Diego Crew Classic, and despite wins for the novice and junior varsity team, head coach Bob Ernst would liked to have seen a better finish from the varsity eight.

The varsity eight finished fifth in its final race in San Diego, which led to a week of practice filled with an addressing issues of that arose from last weekend.

“We took the machine all apart, all the way apart,” Ernst said. “I thought that the varsity race in San Diego was not very good, and I think that we have better personnel than that.”

Like the men’s team, the women will race on a somewhat unfamiliar course. The Cougars’ course is on the Snake River, which is unlike most of the courses the team has seen.

“The river is like a quarter of a mile wide, and the gorge is probably 150 [or] 200 feet deep,” Ernst said. “It’s like something out of National Geographic. It’s like rowing in a washing machine — it gets windy there.”

In order to bounce back from a shaky finish in San Diego, junior Victoria Nenchev hopes the Huskies bring all aspects of the race together into one.

“We’ve just been trying to establish one set rhythm,” she said. “We all have the speeds, we have the splits, we have the finish, and now it’s about bringing it together into one rhythm.”

After a disappointing performance last weekend, the UW women hope to find a rhythm, and success.

Reach reporter Pete Treperinas at sports@dailyuw.com.

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