Three-Peat: Seattle U Defends Covered Bridge V4+ Title

Fending off competition from Humboldt State and Washington State University, the Seattle U Redhawks won their third consecutive V4+ title at the Collegiate Covered Bridge Regatta. Beginning their run in 2016, the crew from Capitol Hill missed the chance to defend their title last year when the regatta was canceled due to high winds. With calm conditions in the grand final this year, the Redhawks crossed the line at 7:05.9 while holding an open water advantage over the second place Lewis and Clark Pioneers. Winning with a combination of juniors and one sophomore, the young varsity squad is eager to return to Dexter Reservoir in 2020 to pursue a fourth consecutive title.

The Seattle U Lightweight 4+, racing in the open weight event, finished third in the petite final registering a 7:42.4 time.

Despite leaving Eugene in high spirits and with medals in hand, the day started out cold, wet, and windy. During alignment, the SU Novice 4+ saw two stake boats capsize, including their own. Officials raced to sweep up the bobbing swimmers before calling for an impromptu floating start.

Later, during the Varsity 4+ A Heat, blustering winds sent whitecaps crashing into final 500 meters of the course and the outside lane offered no protection from the elements. Just as quickly as the conditions shifted, the Redhawks’ V4+ needed to adjust their race plan. Stroke seat Derek Heath lowered the rate, coxswain Chloe Farison called for more tap down, and the whole boat relied on unbroken concentration to push through.

Now, Seattle U looks ahead to their championship season. With just three races left in the year – WIRAs, Opening Day, ACRAs – the fight to the finish is underway. On April 11, head coach Nichole Martin announced the Men’s Crew lineups for the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in Sacramento, CA. Racing will take place on Lake Natoma between April 27-28 and features 5 different SU boats.

While 2019 has been the year of the 4+ for Seattle U, the Redhawks will do their best to retain their dominion in the small boats category. Second-year varsity rowers Derek Heath and Bobby Murray will make their return in the pair after placing in the silver medal position last year, 0.9 seconds behind UCLA. Meanwhile, junior Ben Clarke, now joined by Carson Huseby, will be hoping to keep the Men’s Double trophy after winning the event last year in dominant (and stylish) fashion.

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