No. 11 WSU slips behind No. 5 UW in final home regatta of the season

The No. 11 Washington State women’s rowing team held its own against No.5 Washington on Friday at Wawawai Landing, but the Cougs couldn’t capture a win against the Huskies. It marked the second time this season that WSU had lost all of its races against one school, the last being against then No. 4 Cal in the Pac-12 Women’s Challenge.

Even in defeat, Head Coach Jane LaRiviere kept the focus on learning from the loss.

“We took a step forward today,” LaRiviere said after the race. “We were probably a beat higher racing than we were last week against Gonzaga. I think they did a good job of really staying focused. All of our NCAA boats fared well today and we showed some competitiveness.”

Senior coxswain Sarah Wu saw her varsity eight boat out in front early before hitting a rough patch in the third 500 kilometers. The Huskies took advantage and won with a time of 6:21.1 to the Cougars’ 6:23.6. But the result provided reassurance of their recent improvements, and confidence they can beat UW.

“We jumped out of the gates at the very beginning. We were up a couple seats right from the start and we were really, really gutsy,” Wu said. “The first thousand I was up on the three-seat, which was really great. We wanted to keep that mentality but the third five was a little tough but we held onto them and I think we’re closing the gap.”

The Cougars second varsity eight came in just four seconds behind the Huskies’ at 6:38.9. WSU’s varsity four had almost the same time difference, falling to UW with a time of 7:22.37 to 7:18.03.

Similar to the varsity eight boat of WSU, the varsity four held on close throughout the race but didn’t have enough speed and strength at the end to pull off the upset win. Junior Tori Gerken admitted the Cougars were excited to face UW and allowed that to carry over into the race.

“We were pretty confident – I think excitement got to use in the first 500,” Gerken said. “I think it was the success we had in the past along with the fact that it’s the Apple Cup – you always have to get hyped.”

The sweep marks the conclusion of the Cougars’ home regattas for the spring season. On Saturday, the Cougars will travel to South Carolina for the Clemson Invite.