Pirates kick off 2020 season with strong performances

Photo courtesy of Jim Jorgensen
Photo courtesy of Jim Jorgensen

MARINA DEL REY -- The Orange Coast College men's crew has had a very successful start to the 2020 rowing season and on Saturday, the fun continued with four wins and one runner-up finish in five races at the UCLA Classic.

In the Varsity Eight main event, OCC took on Long Beach State, UC Irvine and the host Bruins and topped them all. After taking the lead midway through the race, the OCC boat did not give that lead up and topped the UCLA boat by two seconds for the win, crossing the finish line with a time of 6 minutes, 1.7 seconds. UCLA came in at 6:03.72, followed by UCI (6:14.28), and LBSU (6:46.34).

It was another tight race for the Pirates as they battled UCI and UCLA in the Second Varsity Eight, but the Anteaters held off an OCC rally with a winning time of 6:09, with the Pirates just behind at 6:10.08. UCLA was a distant third at 6:22.24.

OCC's Varsity Four boat dominated its competition and topped the other three boats with a winning time of 6:57.6, nearly 10 seconds ahead of second-place Long Beach State (7:07.18). UCLA took third at 7:13.09, while UCI (7:16.62) finished fourth.

For the two novice races, it was a pair of open-water victories for the Pirates. In the Novice Eight race, OCC cruised to victory with a time of 6:11.2, 16 seconds ahead of runner-up UCLA's time of 6:27.41. In the Second Novice Eight race, it was a 1-2 finish for the OCC boats as the "A" boat won with a time of 6:28.7, followed by the OCC "B" boat (6:44.2) and UCLA (6:44.84).

In the season-opening event, OCC competed in the California Challenge Cup, which was a series of multiple shorter races to  to gain valuable experience in the early portion of the calendar.  In the end, the Pirates' Varsity Eight captured the Dylan Ayers Trophy after topping Santa Clara University with a winning time of 3:42.57, just ahead of SCU's time of 3:43.92.

OCC's Second Varsity Eight won the Waypoint Construction Challenge after topping UCI's boat by less than a six one-hundredths of a second, edging the Anteaters with a time of 3:46.82, while UCI crossed the line at 3:46.88.

The following day, the Pirates raced against Santa Clara, a team that was ranked nationally in the top-25 at all levels. OCC raced SCU in four races and won twice, taking first in the Varsity Eight race with a time of 6:03.3, ahead of SCU's 6:05.3 and again in the Varsity Four race with a winning time of 7:05 (SCU 7:13). 

"This was an excellent start to our season," OCC head coach Cam Brown said. "We have a long way to go and lots more speed to gain, but if we can continue racing with this intensity and effort throughout the season, 2020 will be another great year for us."

The Pirates will return to the Newport Harbor to host the 2020 Newport Regatta on Sunday, March 22, beginning at 7 a.m.