Ali Baggott

The UVic Vikes men wanted this one. Post-race wait for harbourmaster to give the green light. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

It wasn’t their day today despite all the preparations the University of Victoria Vikes men’s rowing team put in for the 28th Annual Brown Cup race. The UBC Thunderbirds came away victorious in both the reserve and varsity races, while the Victoria atmosphere was absolutely electric. From the Selkirk Trestle to the Bay street and Johnson street bridges, the community was out in full force cheering on their respective crews.


“From the get-go we knew what we had to do,” said Vikes captain and six seat rower Alec Stapff. “We had to focus on our boat and our process. I thought we did a fantastic job of that. From the start line, all the way up we fought and fought and didn’t know where they got away from us but where we did our best work was out on the water. They were just the better boat today.”

The UBC Thunderbirds crew coxed by Kevin Chung and stroked by Sean van Gessel came out absolutely charging to take back what was three-straight Brown Cup wins by UVic.

“Some mistakes were made because it’s racing and nothing will be perfect but there isn’t a single guy in that boat that didn’t give it their all,” assured Stapff. “Guaranteed every single one of them went in to that pain cave.”

The Vikes have won the past three-straight Brown Cup titles, while UBC the four before that. Although UVic has a distinct 20-8 overall titles the two teams have been much closer in the past decade.

UBC Thunderbirds well into their 2019 Brown Cup victory race. Vikes were gaining, but ran out of room. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

“It was a strong race,” said Aalbert van Schothorst, head coach of the Vikes men. “They came out of the gates confident. There is a stagger at the start and UBC was able to take advantage of that and as a result they were able to control the race from the front.”

“I’m absolutely confident in what this crew did today and proud of every stroke they took. UVic put together an incredible race. UBC came out ahead and put together a strong race as well and today it was stronger than ours.”

The men’s reserve race was also an entertaining matchup. The Thunderbirds came through the final stretch after the Johnson Street bridge with a convincing lead but the young Vikes crew made up serious distance with a strong push at the end to really close the gap. UBC won the reserve race in a time of 10:50.89, while the Vikes finish 11:11.55.

The Brown Cup also signified the last race for graduating seniors Daan Arscott, Luc Brodeur and Brett Larson.

“I had the awesome fortune of getting to race with Daan, Luc and Brett and those three guys are graduating so I’m going to walk away for the rest of my life know that I got to be a part of racing with those three guys and their last Brown Cup,” highlighted Stapff.

Tyler Adams
Brett Larson
Luc Brodeur
Joseph Peers
Travis Gronsdahl
Alec Stapff
Alexander Sawers
Daan Arscott
Coxswain Skylar Presch
1 Quinten Schmidt
2 Ryan Beach
3 Liam Marcil
4 Davey Ross
5 Mike Anderson
6 Clark Schultz
7 Brendan Wall
8 Sean van Gessel
Coxswain Kevin Chung
1 Christopher Rusin
Jordan MacDougall
3 Joshua Novak
Haydn Thomas
5-Jacob Phillips
Christopher Clarke
Idjen Cabral
Karl Hare
Coxswan Bailey Kulman
1 Ivan Rybkin
2 Sawyer Previous
3 Zac Labrie
4 Ben Rener
5 Ethan Enns
6 Thomas Lynch
7 Josh Kemper
8 Zach Higgins
Coxswain Pattie Ye