The Bruins’ season is riding on this weekend’s results.
UCLA rowing will travel to the Pac-12 championships Sunday at Lake Natoma, just outside of Sacramento.
The Bruins will take on six other Pac-12 teams which include some of the top teams in the nation, such as the defending national champion No. 1 Washington, No. 2 California, No. 5 Stanford, No. 12 USC and No. 15 Washington State.
Senior varsity four stroke Mikayla Hart said that having raced some of the teams earlier in the season helps the team feel more prepared at the championships.
“We kind of know what to expect and how to go forward with that,” Hart said.
UCLA most recently faced off with rival USC, where they took two out of the fours races but lost the meet in overall team scores.
The Bruins are sitting just outside of the top 20 teams, ranked at No. 24. With 22 teams to advance to the NCAA championships later this month, the Bruins know that this meet is crucial for making their case.
“We’ve got to hit the ground running,” coach Amy Fuller Kearney said. “Pac-12s is the last shot for us, so we’ll be ready.”
Last year the Bruins were in a similar position going into Pac-12s, where they went in ranked No. 20. However, they were unable to clinch a NCAA championship berth due to their poor performance, as the Bruins took sixth place overall and saw their varsity eight boat finish in last place.
Hart said that they have been working all season on their team culture, hoping to better last year’s finish by finding the same mindset and working together.
“I think just coming together is the biggest thing we’ve been working on,” Hart said. “We’ve rowed together all year, and we have the fitness and the fight, it’s really just putting our best foot forward and trying to be the best we can be on race day.”
The teams will race in the varsity four, the novice eight, and the first, second and third varsity eight races. Each finish, excluding the novice eight, has a predetermined number of points that is awarded to each respective school. The team that scores the highest will be named the Pac-12 champion.