The sixth-ranked Stanford women's rowing team recorded a second-place finish Sunday at the Pac-12 Championships on the waters of Lake Natoma, near Gold River. The Cardinal took silver in an exciting varsity eight race, and claimed bronze in the second varsity eight and varsity four.
Stanford also placed fourth in the third varsity eight for a total of 35 team points. California scored 45 to take the conference championship.
Michaela Michael. Photo by James Kerr/USC
Stanford and California staged an exciting duel all the way down the 2,000-meter course. The Cardinal took an early one-seat advantage and built a four-seat lead by the 750-meter mark.
The Bears made a move to take back two seats at the midpoint of the course. Cal continued to charge and pushed its bow ahead in the final 750 meters, taking a four-seat advantage entering the final 500 meters. Stanford responded with a move of its own, taking back two seats as they approached the finish line. The Bears held off the Cardinal by the slimmest of margins at the line, 6:22.0 to 6:22.8.
In the second varsity eight race, Stanford, Washington and California quickly separated themselves from the field. The three boats jockeyed for position early, with Cal in the lead and Washington in second, bow-to-stern ahead of third-place Stanford at the 500-meter mark.
The Cardinal took a half a length lead over fourth-place Washington State at the midpoint of the course. The top three boats held their position over the final half of the course with Cal (6:26.8) taking home gold and Washington (6:30.6) winning the silver ahead of Stanford (6:38.5).
Stanford opened the varsity four race in fourth and quickly made a charge towards the front. By 500 meters, the Cardinal overtook USC for third. Stanford continued to take water away from the Trojans and built an open-water advantage throughout the second half of the course. The Cardinal could not catch the top two boats, taking bronze with a time of 7:15.4 behind Cal (7:04.7) and Washington (7:08.8).
The Cardinal raced third after the first 500 meters of the third varsity eight, holding a five-seat advantage over Washington State. The Cardinal, a half of a length of open water back of California, held its advantage over the Cougars through the midpoint of the course.
Washington State closed the gap as the boats entered the second half for the course and pushed its bow ahead to overtake Stanford for third place as they entered the 1,500-meter mark.
Stanford completed the course in 6:50.9, seven seats ahead of UCLA. Washington (6:30.6) captured the race by open water, followed by Cal (6:37.4) and Washington State (6:45.2).
Stanford will find out its postseason fate during Tuesday's NCAA Championship Selection show at 2 p.m. as teams and seeds are announced for the NCAA championships, which are held Friday through Sunday, May 27-29, on the Lake Natoma course.
No. 14 Stanford totaled 52 points to place third at the Pac-12 championships Sunday at Lake Natoma. No. 2 California (72 points) and No. 4 Washington (65 points) claimed the top two spots at the conference regatta.
At the conclusion of the regatta, the conference honored Cardinal senior Landon Alecxih with the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
Stanford's top-three finish earned it a spot in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in West Windsor, New Jersey, June 3-5.
"First, I couldn't be more proud of Landon Alecxih winning the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award," Stanford coach Craig Amerkhanian said. "That is a tremendous accomplishment. We have had a number of conference scholar-athlete of the years in this program. This is an honor we all take great pride in. On Sunday, we faced two very tough international crews in Cal and Washington. We held our own for the first half of the course and will build on this experience. We secured a spot in the IRA's, which is something we set out to do."
In the varsity eight race, California and Washington surged ahead in the first 500 meters with Stanford solidly in third place. The Cardinal was a length of open water back of second-place Washington and a length of open water ahead of fourth-place Oregon State at the midpoint of the course.
Stanford completed the course in 5:56.1 to finish bow-to-stern ahead of the Beavers for third place. California claimed gold with a time of 5:39.8, while Washington took silver with a time of 5:41.9.
Stanford opened the second varsity eight race in fourth place, but quickly began to push the top boats. By 750 meters, the Cardinal pulled within three seats of third-place Oregon State.
Stanford continued its charge and surged its bow ahead of Oregon State just past the midpoint of the course. Stanford created separation from the Beavers, securing the bronze with a time of 6:02.0, behind California (5:48.0) and Washington (5:52.3).
Stanford began the third varsity eight race in fourth, one seat of open water ahead of Colorado after 500 meters. The Cardinal continued to separate itself from the Buffaloes, creating three lengths of open water by the midpoint of the course. Oregon State held on to third with an open-water advantage over Stanford (6:22.9).
Menlo School grad Michaela Michael, USC's first-ever All-American and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year as a sophomore, recorded three goals and three assists to help the Trojans top visiting Stanford, 14-8, in the second round of the NCAA tournament Sunday in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Michael, a first-team all-MPSF pick this season, is also nominated for the Tewaaraton Award, presented to the top male and female lacrosse player in the country. She has 66 goals on the year.
The loss ends another historic season for the Cardinal (14-5), which saw it reach its 19th consecutive conference championship game and win the second NCAA tournament game in program history.
Stanford took a 2-1 lead in the eighth minute off Dillon Schoen's free position goal. The Cardinal held on to the lead for another five minutes before USC (20-0) struck back to tie it, sparking a five-goal streak from which Stanford never recovered.
Mackenzie Tesei broke the drought with 5:44 remaining in the half before Anna Salemo added the last goal to make it 7-4 headed into the break. The Trojan were dominant on the draw control in the first half, while edging the Cardinal in ground balls as well.
Shaking up the game plan in the second half, Stanford placed Alexandra Crerend in the draw circle, which proved wise as the Cardinal crushed USC in draws in the second half, 9-3. The half started off right as Kelsey Murray set up Alex Poplawski for her first goal to make it 7-5.
USC turned it on again forcing eight Stanford turnovers and then scored four straight to open an
insurmountable 11-5 lead.
Kelsey Murray interrupted the streak, but USC kept answering with three more goals in the last 13 minutes.
Schoen finished the scoring with her 27th goal of the year but it was USC which become the first team in MPSF history to make it past the second round.
Stanford dropped the series finale to host Utah, 8-3, in Pac-12 action Sunday as the Utes hung on to first place in the conference.
The Cardinal (25-21, 11-13 Pac-12) took a lead in the third, sparked by Austin Barr, who recorded his first career triple ahead of Matt Winaker's single.
The Cardinal added a run in the next inning. Quinn Brodey, who extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games, led off with a double and scored on Duke Kinamon's single.
Starter Andrew Summerville did not allow a run on three hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked five, but induced two double plays, and the Cardinal threw out two runners at the plate to keep Utah off the scoreboard.
Tyler Thorne (1-2) got out of a jam to end the fourth but was hit hard in the fifth, giving up five runs.
Winaker has hit safely in 15 of the last 16 games, including five straight.
A quasi-doubleheader will take place at Sunken Diamond on Tuesday. Stanford and UC Davis will finish a suspended game from March 21 (Cardinal leads, 12-9 and will start as the visitors in the top of the ninth), and then begin the regularly scheduled game at 5:30 p.m.