NEWPORT BEACH -- For the second consecutive year, the Orange Coast College men's crew has captured the top spot at the 53rd annual Newport Regatta, winning three of five races on Sunday morning under rainy conditions on the Newport Harbor.
While the rainy conditions looked rough on the surface, the favorable wind and strong helping current enabled the boats to post stellar times throughout the seven-race event.
But no time raised more eyebrows than the OCC Varsity Eight in the final race of the morning. The Pirates -- taking on some of the top four-year programs in the region, including San Diego State, UCLA, UC Irvine and defending national champion UC Santa Barbara -- left the big boys in their wake as they cruised to an open-water victory. Coast blasted off of the starting line and never looked back, posting a time of 5 minutes, 40.6 seconds, which is one of the fastest times ever recorded on OCC's 2000-meter race.
OCC's big win in the final race served as the perfect exclamation point to an outstanding morning of racing for the Pirates, who finished in the top-two in all five races they participated in for a P.A. Palmer Cup-winning score of 26 points, well ahead of UCLA and UCSB (17 points each).
"This was a breakthrough day for the guys and I couldn't be happier for them," OCC head coach Cam Brown said.
After Coast picked up a runner-up result in the Second Novice Eight race, the Pirates came back to win the Larry M. Moore Cup by capturing the top spot in the Novice Eight with a time of 6:02.16, ahead of runner-up San Diego State and third-place UCLA.
Coast notched back-to-back victories just a few minutes later by winning the Robert B. Moore Cup in the Second Varsity Eight with a time of 6:04.9. UC Santa Barbara took second, while UCLA finished third.
In the Varsity Four race, OCC hung tough with UC Santa Barbara for most of the race, but in the end, the Gauchos took home the Condon Johnson Cup with a time of 6:40.2.
The Pirates will be back in action on Saturday, March 24 at the San Diego Crew Classic, located in Mission Bay, beginning at 7 a.m.