Cal at the Olympics: Five Golden Bears Advance in Rowing

Alex Morgan and USA women's soccer team play an early Saturday morning game against New Zealand, which has two former Golden Bears players
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It's tempting to look ahead to the USA women's soccer game against New Zealand, which begins at 4:30 a.m. Pacific time Saturday. The American team features former Cal star Alex Morgan, and New Zealand has two former Golden Bears, Daisy Cleverley and Betsy Hassett.

But first let's look back at Friday's rowing results featuring Cal athletes.

Friday was a tough day for Cal rowers competing in the men's and women's eights as only one of the rowers with Cal connections advanced to the finals. But Golden Bears had success in other rowing categories.

Former Golden Bear Julian Venonsky is the coxswain for the United States men's eight finished second in its heat, just 1.62 seconds behind heat winner Germany. But only the heat winner advanced to the A Final.

Cal's Angus Dawson was part of the Australian eight that finished fourth in that four-boat heat, leaving the Americans and the Aussies in the Repechage.

The lone Cal rower who advanced in the men's eight was Maarten Hurkmans, who is part of the Netherlands team that won its heat.

On the women's eight, Sydney Payne, who competed for Cal in 2019, was part of the Canada's women's team that finished second in its heat, but only heat winners advanced to the A Final.

Cal alums had more success in the other rowing events Friday.

Former Cal standouts Niki Van Sprang and Martin Mackovic advanced with their respective teams to the men's pairs A/B semifinal.

Rowing in the same heat, Van Sprang was part of the Netherlands pairs boat along with Guillaume Krommenhoek that finished second, and Mackovic's pair boat representing Serbia and included Milos Vasic finished third, 7:34 behind the Netherlands, in a five-boat heat. The top three finishers advanced to the A/B semifinals.

Another ex-Cal rower, Joachim Sutton, joined them in the A/B semifinal when he and his Denmark pairs teammate Frederic Vystavel finished second in the third heat, crossing the line a little more than four seconds behind the winner, Croatia.

Only one of the three former Cal rowers competing in the women's four heats qualified for the Final A.

Kendall Chase, a 2016 Cal graduate, was part of the United States' women's four, but it finished fourth in a heat in which the top two finishers advanced, so it goes to the Repechage. However, Rosemary Popa, a former Golden Bear, was a member of the Australian women's four that won that heat and advanced to the Final A.

In the other women's four heat, Great Britain, which included former Golden Bears rower Rowan McKellar, finished fourth and will go to the Repechage.

Cover photo of USA women's four entry, featuring Kendall Chase, is by Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Network

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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