Sacramento, Calif. - The Harvard freshman eight won a silver medal to lead Crimson at the 107th Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships Saturday on Lake Natoma. Harvard finished in the top-five in all four grand finals it raced in.
In one of the closest varsity eight finishes in recently history, Washington edged California in the final strokes for the national title. Washington covered the 2,000 meter course in 5:50.9, while the Golden Bears finished in 5:51.8. Stanford finished third (5:56.4), followed by Brown (5:58.7), Harvard (6:01.6) and Boston University (6:02.6).
Stanford was the early front runner, followed by California, while Harvard and Washington rowed at a dead even pace for much of the race. Brown and Boston University were never far behind. California and Stanford battled it out for the lead though out the first 1,000 meters of the course. The Golden Bears took the lead with 750 meters to go and Washington went with them. Brown and BU made a move on the Crimson with 500 meter to go. Washington passed Stanford and rowed into the Golden Bears in the final 50 meters of the race. With less than five strokes to row, the Huskies passed California for the title. Brown just edged the Crimson to take the fourth spot.
The Crimson won a silver medal in the freshman eight, making a move in the final strokes of the race to pass EARC Sprint Champion Brown for Harvard only medal. It took only eight strokes for Washington to emerge as the front runner in the race, but the rest of the field remained dead even over the first 300 meters. Brown and Cornell were the first two boats to break away, followed by Wisconsin, California and Harvard. The Crimson was the sixth boat to cross the 500 meter marker, but used the next 500 meters to move into medal contention. Harvard rowed away from Cal and Wisconsin and challenged Cornell for the third spot. With 750 to go, Washington had a length lead over Brown, but Cornell and Harvard were gaining on the second-place crew. Harvard passed the Big Red and increased the stroke rating to 46 strokes a minute to walk into the Bears. The sprint to the finish allowed the Crimson to pass its Ivy League rival and secure Harvard’s best finish since 2005.
Washington clocked in at 5:50.37, followed by Harvard in 5:57.37 and Brown in 5:57.74. California was fourth, followed by Wisconsin and Cornell. Alex Sopko (cox), Pat Lapage (stroke), Jack Morrissey (seven), Nick Jordan (six), Robert Stone (five), Sam O’Connor (four), Matthew Edstein (three),
Elihu Reynolds (two), Michael DiSanto (bow) made up Harvard’s silver medal winning boat.
The Crimson finished fifth in the second varsity eight grand final. Washington clocked in at 5:51.47, followed by Brown in 5:55.75 and California in 5:58.26. Harvard crossed the line in 6:00.04. Washington won the event Washington took the lead off the start, but not by much as only three seats separated the top six points through the 250 meter mark. Brown and Harvard followed the Huskies away from the pack. Brown increased its distance from Harvard taking a seven seat lead, while the Crimson held a two seat advantage over California. The Golden Bears pulled even with Harvard and the two crews closed the gap on the Brown. With 250 meters to go, Cal passed the Crimson and Brown increased its rating to increase its advantage and hold on to second. Boston University made its way into the pack in the final strokes and held off the Crimson for fourth.
Harvard finished fifth in the grand final of the varsity fours. It was a very even start for the field with California, Washington, Princeton and Wisconsin taking a slight lead over the Crimson and Georgetown. Over the course, Cal, Washington and Princeton pulled away from the field. The Crimson battled with the Hoyas for the fifth spot. With 250 to go, the Crimson increased its stroke rating and closed the gap against the field but was unable to change its position. Harvard finished in 6:45.49. Cal won the race in 6:32.65.
The open four finished second in the petite final and eighth overall. Cornell and George Washington got off the start fast and pulled away from Harvard and Oregon State. The Big Red extended its lead over GW in the first 500 meters, while Harvard battled with Oregon State for the third position. At the midway point, the Crimson started creeping up on GW and OSU and with 750 to go took over second place. Cornell had rowed out to nearly a three length lead at the point was not going to be caught. Harvard put distance between it and the other two crews in the race as it tried to close the gap. The Big Red won the race in 6:54.3, followed by the Crimson in 7:03.86. Oregon State snuck by GW for third, coming in at 7:08.86.
The Crimson racing season is not over yet as Harvard takes on rival Yale in the 144th Harvard-Yale Regatta, June 13 in New London, Conn.