Cal men’s rowing steams into spring season under new head coach

Rowers merrily row the boat.
Michael Paiva/Courtesy

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After months of training and preparation for the spring season, the Bears are back on the water. The Cal men’s rowing team kicked off its spring campaign March 2, winning races both in the deserts of sunny Las Vegas at the Lake Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational and in the midst of the pouring rain and rushing wind that met them in Newport Beach at the UC Challenge Cup, which was hosted by UC Irvine.

In Nevada, the Bears swept their competition, earning first place in all their races. The junior varsity 8+ finished in 5:49.57 minutes, leading Oregon State by about 22 seconds. The Bears’ varsity 8+ also took first with a nearly identical time, leading Oregon State by a narrower gap of 13 seconds. Cal’s junior varsity 8+ stormed through Cornell, beating them by a 20-second margin, while their varsity 8+ teammates beat Cornell by just less than 15 seconds.

Over in Newport Beach, Cal’s third varsity 8+ topped the other five UC teams, coming in at 6:59.0 — 17 seconds faster than the next closest. Meanwhile, the Bears freshman 8+ finished 4 seconds ahead of the competition at 7:13.0, winning the Experian Cup.

Looking ahead, the Bears are training and preparing themselves for the big races and challenges that this season has to offer. On April 6, Cal will travel south to participate once again in the San Diego Crew Classic. Last year in San Diego, the Bears were massively successful, earning first places in the men’s open race, the Men’s Collegiate 2V Sharp Memorial Cup and the Men’s Collegiate Varsity Copley Cup Invitational.

After the return to San Diego, the Bears will test themselves at the Stanford Invitational on April 13-14, and then they will participate in dual races against Washington and Oregon State the week after. After the races away from home, Cal will return to California to compete against Stanford on April 27 before taking on the Pac-12 Championship on May 19 and the IRA National Championships 12 days later to wrap up the season.

This year, the Bears are led by the highly decorated former student-athlete and Haas School of Business graduate, Scott Frandsen. This will be Frandsen’s first spring season as head coach after succeeding Mike Teti in June 2018.

Under Frandsen, the Bears had a successful run in the fall season, with their varsity 8 — comprising John Amorosana, George Finlayson, Jack Gosden-Kaye, Maarten Hurkmans, Hunter Hodges, Elliot Rodgers, Christoph Seifriedsberger, Joachim Sutton and Ferdinand Querfeld — earning its spot as the nation’s fourth-fastest collegiate crew.

After a phenomenal start to the season, the Bears are looking to bring their winning streak back to the Bay by racing Saturday morning on the Oakland Estuary for the Class Day Races.

John Trevor covers rowing. Contact him at [email protected].