NATIONAL CHAMPION: Harvard Lightweight Varsity Completes Perfect Season With IRA Gold
GOLD RIVER, Calif. – Harvard's lightweight first varsity crew captured its second straight IRA National Championship, and ninth overall, Sunday on Lake Natoma. The Crimson completed an undefeated season and also won the lightweight four race for a sweep of the two lightweight events at the regatta.
The Crimson becomes the third school to win at least two consecutive titles since 2006, joining Cornell (2006-2008) and Princeton (2009, '10). Harvard has now medaled in five straight IRA events.
"This crew has their handle on the attention to detail. Everybody is fit enough; everybody is rowing well enough," said Charley Butt, The Friends of Harvard Lightweight Rowing Coach for Men's Lightweight Crew. "Are they really functioning as a team? Clearly they were. Our boats have done a terrific job in that respect."
Harvard's varsity eight started to take charge at the 500-meter mark of its grand final, after winning a heat earlier in the morning, and gained nearly a full-length lead by the middle of the race.
"It was interesting to see us run hot," noted Butt. "All year long we have been coming from behind or level and today we were front-runners."
It was a tight race for second, but Harvard clearly owned the race coming into the final 500 meters. It was not until the last 150 meters when the rest of the field started to make up water on the Crimson.
Butt added, "In these conditions, you have to wonder 'how much are we going to give back?' But they kept the movement; they held the other boats at bay. We looked controlled and maintained the acceleration, so I thought it was a good effort."
Harvard finished in 5:54.221, just over one second ahead of Yale in second.
The lightweight four, which featured the stern four of Harvard's usual second varsity, started with the rest of the pack through the first 1,000 meters. Princeton, Wisconsin and Cornell were all there with Harvard, which was in second, as the crews approached the midway point, when the Crimson made its move. Harvard nudged its bow ball ahead just after the 1,000-meter line after showing patience through the beginning.
"I knew once they got the bow ball ahead that it was over," coach Linda Muri commented after the race. Muri was correct, as the Crimson never looked back. The group won with open water and crossed the finish line in 6:45.246. Harvard was almost three seconds ahead of Wisconsin in second place with a 6:48.044 time.
Grand Final Results
Varsity Eight – Grand Final
Harvard – 5:54.221
Yale – 5:55.241
Columbia – 5:55.744
Dartmouth – 5:55.968
Cornell – 6:00.193
Princeton – 6:00.435
Lightweight Four – Grand Final
Harvard – 6:45.246
Wisconsin – 6:48.044
Cornell – 6:49.044
Princeton – 6:50.699
Yale – 6:53.841
MSOE – 7:02.423
Varsity Eight – Heat 1
Harvard – 5:57.232
Princeton – 5:58.859
Columbia – 6:01.188
Georgetown – 6:08.683
Lightweight Four – Heat 2
Harvard – 6:43.071
Wisconsin – 6:43.257
MSOE – 6:50.888
MIT – 6:55.458
Bow: Alexander Bonorris; 2: Michael Wales; 3:Austin Meyer; 4: Stuart Taylor; 5: Nicholas Gates; 6: Matt O'Leary; 7: Andrew Campbell; Stroke: Florian Mayr; Coxswain: Paul Farber
Bow: Erich Schultze; 2: Robert Hawthorne; 3:James Groeneveld; Stroke: Nicolai Astrup Wiik; Coxswain: Alex Saal