The Bruins needed their best races of the season this weekend, but that’s not what they got.
UCLA rowing took sixth place out of seven teams at the Pac-12 championships this weekend, losing to everyone except for Oregon State.
The Bruins finished with just 11.5 team points, well under the 45.5 points that No. 1 Washington amassed while sweeping all five races to take the Pac-12 championship and earn an automatic spot in the NCAA championships.
The morning started off slow for the Bruins with a last-place finish in the novice eight and fifth-place finishes in both the third varsity eight and the varsity four races. The Bruins then went on to place sixth in the second varsity eight race. UCLA finished their mediocre performance at the meet with a last-place finish for the first varsity eight boat.
“I believe that we all went out there and did the best we had today,” said coach Amy Fuller Kearney. “I don’t think anybody held anything back today, and … at the end of the day I’m super proud of the team. We knew that a turnaround and getting back to the NCAAs wasn’t going to be a one-year process.”
With the Bruins sitting at the unofficial rank of No. 24 in the nation, the team knew they needed to rise to the occasion to have a chance at being one of the 22 teams selected to advance to the NCAA championship.
“I think that our Pac-12 performance puts us on the outside of the bubble,” Fuller Kearney said. “But, looking at some of the other conferences and what’s happening across the country, we’ll just keep our fingers crossed.”
Since the Bruins were unable to outrace any of the teams ranked higher than them, there is a good chance that the Pac-12s will end up being their last meet of the season. But this remains to be seen, as the official championship selection will take place May 15.
For now, senior second varsity eight stroke KC Yeagley is looking back at this season season as a success when it comes to growth as a team.
“We definitely challenged ourselves in new ways, and it’s really impressive that we found ways to push ourselves beyond what we thought we were capable of,” Yeagley said. “We’ve grown together so much, even though we weren’t necessarily in the place we wanted to be in by this time.”