Duke head coach Megan Cooke Carcagno wanted to get her team some early-season experience against some of the nation's top teams.
The Blue Devils had to go all the way across the country to get it, but return to Durham with one win under their belts.
No. 20 Duke kicked off its spring slate at the Pac-12 Challenge in Redwood City, Calif., Saturday as the only East Coast representative. The varsity four boat notched the lone win of the day for the Blue Devils Saturday on the waters of the Redwood Shores Lagoon, beating UCLA across the finish the line.
The quintet of Sarah Wall, Mary Wilson, Sarah Fletcher, Celia Macrae and Julia Weber climbed into the varsity four boat for Duke and stopped the clock in 7:21.5, about 12 seconds ahead of the Bruins in the dual-race format. The Blue Devils returned to the water in the event's evening session, but added nearly 40 seconds to their morning time, crossing the line in 8:07.6.
“Their win was vital to our effort as a team. I would say today was hard, because going up against great programs really puts our team to the test," Cooke Carcagno told GoDuke.com. "Stanford and Cal are always fast. UCLA looked tough today as well. Today was a great opportunity to test our road game, and I think we learned a lot.”
No. 9 Stanford—the event host—secured a clear lead in all three races against the Duke boats. The Cardinal's varsity four boat won the race against the Blue Devils in 7:52.0, and the varsity eight and 2V8 crews opened up leads of 28 and 24.1 seconds, respectively.
UCLA's varsity eight boats beat Duke's across the line in the morning as well. The Bruins bested the Blue Devils' top boat by just more than six seconds—crossing the line in 6:30.3—and the 2V8 won in a slightly closer race, sneaking to the finish line in 6:38.7 to the Blue Devils' 6:42.5.
Duke will next head to the Virginia Dual April 9.
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