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Rowing to begin 2020 campaign against San Diego State for second straight year

No. 20 UCLA rowing will open up its 2020 campaign by hosting San Diego State for a dual meet at the Marina Aquatic Center, the second straight year the Bruins have faced the Aztecs to start the season. (Jocelyn Dao/Daily Bruin)

By Roland Houseman

March 6, 2020 3:44 p.m.

After an early exit in the 2019 postseason, the Bruins will open up a new season.

No. 20 UCLA rowing is slated to start its 2020 season Saturday at the Marina Aquatic Center versus San Diego State. This will mark the second year in a row in which the Bruins will take on the Aztecs to start their season.

UCLA previously defeated San Diego State in its first meet of 2019, starting off last season with a victory.

This year, the Bruins hope to do the same, but with a different squad. Last year’s UCLA team graduated a class of 12 players, including then-seniors starboard Kyra Edwards and port Saskia Budgett. They both went on to represent Great Britain at the World Rowing Championships in fall – Edwards at the senior level and Budgett as an alternate.

“The freshman class has been filling in our top seats, and any of our returners stepping up has been amazing to see,” said coach Amy Fuller Kearney.

Port Fiona Buzzard is one of only four seniors on the team and said the senior class is excited to kick off its final season, embracing their new roles as leaders on the squad.

“We lead by example, but when you have a younger class, you do have to be a bit more vocal,” Buzzard said.

UCLA enters the season ranked in the top 20 nationally and is one of five ranked teams from the Pac-12 conference, which has produced the last four national champions. Reigning champion Washington is ranked No. 1 in the country, followed by Stanford at No. 2. Rounding out the rankings are No. 6 California and No. 18 USC.

The Bruins narrowly missed out on the 2019 NCAA championship after placing 4th at the Pac-12 championship, not high enough to qualify.

“Last year, I felt really bad for the seniors because we definitely deserved to be at the NCAA championship, there’s no doubt about it, but that’s done now,” Fuller Kearney said. “We have to focus on this young team and this energy to be in contention this spring.”

UCLA went 2-1 last season in dual meets, beating San Diego State and Loyola Marymount but losing to USC. They also competed in the San Diego Crew Classic and the Windermere Cup in Seattle during the regular season, ending the year at the Pac-12 championship in Gold River, California.

“A year of reflection and gratitude, so much to be grateful for,” Fuller Kearney said.

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Roland Houseman | Alumnus
Houseman joined the Bruin as a senior in 2019 and contributed until he graduated in 2020. He spent time on the rowing beat.
Houseman joined the Bruin as a senior in 2019 and contributed until he graduated in 2020. He spent time on the rowing beat.
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