Husky men’s rowing show resilience with fourth-place finish at IRA championships

WEST WINDSOR, NJ — Although the University of Washington couldn’t defend its title sweep of last year, including staking another overall point’s trophy, the Huskies did continue to improve this season.

“Everyone gave their all,” Washington coach Michael Callahan said Sunday morning. “It is kind of a cliché, but we wanted to make sure our last race was our best one, and we want to make sure we left it all on the course.”

In their last collegiate race of the season, the Huskies men’s varsity eight crew finished fourth in the grand final, which is considered the national championship, at the 2022 Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta.

“Obviously, the race didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to, but I’m just so grateful to be here and compete with everyone,” said Steve Rosts, the stroke on the varsity eight. “It would’ve been nice to come home with some hardware. We couldn’t get it done, but I’m thankful for the people around me.”

Washington also placed fourth in the second varsity eight while medaling in the third bronze varsity eight with a at Mercer Lake.

The Huskies finished third in the James Ten Eyck Trophy standings for overall points among men’s heavyweight crews.

Last year, the Huskies won all three varsity eight events on the final day, including claiming the 17th Ten Eyck trophy in the program’s decorated history.

“We were in a pretty rough spot earlier in the year, it really felt like we were playing catch-up all year,” said Simon van Dorp, the fifth seat on the varsity eight. “At the same time, we have an incredible amount of talent here and we always knew that when we got together, we could make a fast boat.

“We really didn’t start clicking till about two weeks ago,” added van Dorp, who stepped away from the program the previous two years to train with the Netherlands. “And I’m really proud of what we’ve done especially the last two weeks.”

Washington finished better than its seeding in all four eights finals, as well as the varsity four event that was raced Saturday.

“That’s important to show that we were getting better,” Callahan said about topping their seedings.

In addition to signs of encouragement, Callahan’s crew was the lone program to place a crew in the four heavyweight grand finals.

“I still think we were improving until the end, so as a coach, it was great to see” Callahan said. “The persistence and resilience of this group has been outstanding and they just continued to keep sweating until the end of this season.

“To me effort and improvement are what you’re always looking for as a teacher and a coach and I saw that all year,” Callahan continued. “Everyone kept fighting as a team and stayed close knit to each other.”

Yale took home the Ten Eyck Trophy for the first time in program history. The Huskies (13) and the Golden Bears (2) had brought the Ten Eyck back West for 15-straight years.

The Bulldogs posted 283 points to comfortably outpace California (272) and Washington (255).

“That’s a tribute to Yale, they had a really strong team and California had a really strong eight,” Callahan said. “To be in (third) place was really important to us.”

In the grand final, the Huskies started close behind Cal with Yale at a close third before passing Washington at 500 meters.

California padded its lead at 1,000 meters and Yale put more water in front of Washington, which was battling Brown for third.

“We couldn’t get into a really good rhythm to push it away,” van Dorp said. “I’m incredibly packed proud to be on this team and have the head experiences that we had and come back this year.”

California won the national championship, crossing the finish line in 5:44.239, more than two seconds ahead of Yale (5:46.339). Brown (5:49.133) beat the Huskies (5:52.365) for the bronze medal.

“They definitely had a really strong boat and we could see it all year,” Callahan said about the Golden Bears. “It shows the death and strength of our conference.”

In the second varsity eight grand final, Washington was dragging into sixth place halfway through the 2,000-meter course but powered past Brown and Princeton into fourth position by 1,500 meters.

Yale (5:51.958) outsprinted Cal. (5:54.052) for the win, while Dartmouth (5:57.286) edged the Huskies (5:58.264) for a podium position.

In the third varsity eight grand final, Washington held the lead at 1,500 meters, but couldn’t hold off the Ivy League as Yale (5:54.771) and Harvard (5:57.717) made the Huskies (6:03.539) settle for bronze .

The Huskies will aim to peak later this month with multiple men’s and women’s crews competing at Henley Royal Regatta in England.

“We have the Henley Regatta so we’re looking forward to that and we look forward to improving and extending the season three to four more weeks,” Callahan said.

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