NEWPORT BEACH -- The Orange Coast College men's crew left the rest of the four-year schools in the fog on Sunday morning at the 52nd-annual Newport Regatta as the Pirates claimed the P.A. Palmer Cup as the top point-winner of the event.
The Pirates racked up 22 points to top rival UC Santa Barbara (18 points) to claim the regatta's top overall prize. Over the course of six total events, Coast competed in five and picked up two first-place times, two second-place times and one fourth fourth place time.
"It was an excellent way for our entire squad to start the season," OCC head coach Cam Brown said. "The guys have been working hard all season long and it's great to see that hard work translate into results on the water."
After not taking part in the Novice 4 race, Coast went to work in the Second Novice 8 race and won a head-to-head matchup against UC Irvine to claim the Norman E. Watson Cup. The team of Raymond Remick (coxswain), David Duffy, Hayden Hill, Rocket Stickney, Clayton Holmes, A.J. Emick, Stephen Hospedales, Noah Greenslit and Chase Parker jumped out quickly and cruised to a winning time of 6 minutes, 29.7 seconds, a full 18 seconds ahead of the Anteaters' time of 6:47.72.
It was more of the same for the Pirates in the Novice 8 as the Pirates jumped out to a comfortable lead within the opening 700 meters and never looked back. The team of Ally Nordlie (coxswain), Nick Remick, Daniel Amado, James Kerrigan, Kyle Gocan, Mitch Holt, Andrew Garrow, Steve Badajoz and Ben Cassidy had a four boat-length lead on the rest of the field and cruised to victory with a time of 6:06.5, winning the Larry M. Moore Cup. UC Irvine was a distant second with a time of 6:33.69, while UCSB took third at 6:36.4.
It was a three-team race in the Second Varsity 8 race (Robert B. Moore Cup) between UCSB, OCC and the University of San Diego. Coast's crew of Riley Ritchie (coxswain), Rob McClure, Sawyer Schardt, Rhodri John, David Elder, Josh Tandy-McGlasson, Troy Harding, Garrett O'Neill and Leon Maurer fought off a late charge by USD, but couldn't make it ahead of the Gauchos (6:04.8) for the top spot and finished second overall with a time of 6:08.04. USD took third overall with a 6:09.18.
OCC's Varsity 4 team of William Brown (coxswain), Omar Ragab, Alden Stoneman, Ryan Russell and Grand Midstokke went up against a number of top-quality rowers and hung tough for a fourth-place time of 7:12.8, just behind Loyola Marymount (6:58.8), UCSB (7:03.32) and UCLA (7:04.4).
In the final race of the morning, the Pirates battled for the James C. Jorgensen Cup against some of the top four-year rowers in the state. In the seven-boat race, it came down to the foursome of OCC, USD, UCI and UCSB as the crews went neck and neck for the entire 2,000-meter race. The Gauchos grabbed an early lead, before the Pirates pulled out for a bit at the 750-meter mark. It was OCC and USD battling as the race reached the OCC Boathouse before the Torero crew edged in front and held off the rest of the field to win with a time of 5:55.4. The Pirates, raced by Karina Dubourdieu (coxswain), Dan Ross, Connor Breen, Caleb O'Neil, Ken Ponchak, Sam Melvin, Tanner Godfrew, Jordan Teisan and John Kinnear, finished second with a solid time of 5:56.42.
UC Irvine finished third with a 5:59.47 and edged out UCSB, which placed fourth at 5:59.77. "It has been a long time since we've beaten UC Santa Barbara in the Varsity 8, so that was a huge accomplishment for us," Brown said. "All in all, the times were solid from top to bottom -- no weak links at all."
After Sunday's big win, the Pirates will take the weekend off from competition, but will be back in the water on Sunday, March 26 in a dual match with UCLA at Newport Harbor, beginning at 7 a.m.
"I was pleased, but it was just our first race of the season," Brown said. "We've still got a long ways to go and a long season ahead of us ... but it was a nice way to start."