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Radcliffe Goes West for 107th IRA Regatta

Storyline

The Radcliffe lightweight varsity eight competes at the 107th  Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships-and the first on the West Coast-Friday and Saturday on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.

The Schedule

There is no women's crew action Thursday, the opening day of the IRA regatta. The women's lightweight eight heats are Friday at 8 a.m. and 8:12. Radcliffe races Wisconsin, Georgetown and Tulsa in the first heat. The first two finishers in each heat advance to Saturday's 11 a.m. p.m. grand final, as do the top two in the Friday afternoon repechage, slated for 12:45.

Follow From Home

Live results from the IRA National Championships are available from Jamco, while the ECAC is providing live video.

The Lineup

Cox: Jana Douglas, 8: Grace Hollowell, 7: Rebekah Kharrazi, 6: Lizzy Bates, 5: Amanda Pfabe, 4: Marissa Reichel, 3: Natalie Wong, 2: Wynne Evans, 1: Laurel Gabard-Durnam

 

Records and Rankings

The Radcliffe lightweight varsity eight fell from second to fifth in the latest USRowing
Collegiate poll. The Black and White posted a 5-1 record in dual races.

 

EAWRC Sprints Recap

The Black and White second varsity eight earned a silver medal but the varsity eight was edged by Georgetown for the bronze in the Eastern Association of Women's Rowing
Colleges Sprints Championships May 17 on the Cooper River. Radcliffe also placed fourth in the Ulbrich Trophy team competition.

The varsity boats were tight early, with Georgetown taking the first slight lead. Radcliffe then inched ahead of the pack, only to see top-ranked Wisconsin move ahead of the field, followed by Princeton with the Black and White holding a four-seat edge on the Hoyas.

As the second-place Tigers pulled to nearly a length clear, Radcliffe and Georgetown engaged in a neck-and-neck battle for the bronze medal. The Hoyas prevailed by about 1.3 seconds, as the Black and White finished in 6:57.341.

In the second varsity eight, Radcliffe held off Georgetown, finishing in 7:19.369, more than three seconds ahead of the Hoyas.

Dual Season Recap

Despite facing top-seven opponents in six straight weeks, the Black and White lightweights posted a 5-1 dual record and a second-place  finish at the Knecht Cup. Radcliffe opened with a sweep of the heavyweight crews of Holy Cross and Smith. A week later, the then-No. 5 Black and White showed it was ready to move back toward the top of the polls with a 6.4-second win against Georgetown, then ranked fourth. Radcliffe then put two boats in the grand final of the Knecht Cup, placing second and fourth with top-ranked Wisconsin entries taking first and third.

Then-No. 3 Stanford held off Radcliffe by fewer than two seconds April 18, but Radcliffe rebounded the next week. The Black and White beat then-No. 2 Princeton by open water to take the Class of 1999 Cup for the first time since 2004. Radcliffe capped the dual campaign with a 21-second win against No. 7 MIT in the inaugural Muri Cup race May 3.

Last Season

The Radcliffe varsity eight placed sixth in the grand final of the 2008 IRA National
Championships on the Cooper River. The sixth-ranked Black and White matched its seeding and finished in the top six for the 11th time in the 12 years since the IRA regatta began determining the
lightweight national champion.

Most of the pack hung together early, with Stanford moving slightly ahead by the
250-meter mark and holding its advantage through the first 500. Wisconsin passed
Princeton about 750 meters in, moved through Stanford shortly thereafter and went on to an open-water win. The Black and White, racing for the third time in two days, finished more than five seconds back of fifth-place Princeton.

Radcliffe secured a top-six finish Friday by qualifying for the grand final with a win in the repechage, following a third-place heat finish. The Black and White trailed Princeton and Stanford in its heat and finished more than 13 seconds ahead of the field in the repechage.

National Championships

The Black and White has won five national championships with the most recent coming in 1997, the last of three straight titles and the first year the champion was determined at the IRA regatta. Radcliffe won National Collegiate Rowing Championships crowns in 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1996 in Cincinnati.

Consistent Excellence

The Radcliffe varsity eight has medaled in eight of its 12 appearances at the IRA National Championships. In only one of those years (2000) did the Black and White miss the grand final.

Lightweight Coaching Staff

First-year head coach Heather Cartwright is taking Radcliffe to the IRA regatta for the first time. She came to Radcliffe with 15 years of coaching experience, on the high-school, club, collegiate, provincial and
national-team levels. As an assistant coach, Cartwright helped the
heavyweight crews from Boston University and Princeton reach the NCAA Championships. Former Radcliffe heavyweight captain Carrie Morelock '07 is in her first season assisting Cartwright and coaching the lightweight novices.

 

Lightweight Captain

Rebekah Kharrazi (Alameda, Calif.) is the Radcliffe captain. She is
rowing in the varsity eight for her fourth straight IRA regatta. She earned a bronze medal as the five seat in her freshman season.

 

Hitting the Books

Sophomore two seat Wynne Evans (Greenwich, Conn.) was named a Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Scholar Athlete. Evans has helped the Black and White earn a top-five national ranking while excelling as a Romance languages and literature concentrator. She earned selection by competing in the varsity eight all season while posting a cumulative grade-point average of better than 3.5.

Youth ... And Experience

Radcliffe has just three seniors on its roster and one in the IRA  varsity eight, Rebekah Kharrazi, and five members of the varsity eight are underclassmen. However, five of the varsity eight rowed in the boat last season: Kharrazi, junior Amanda Pfabe (Las Vegas, Nev.) and sophomores Wynne Evans, Lizzy Bates (Tenants Harbor, Maine) and Natalie Wong (Mill Valley, Calif.). Pfabe is making her third IRA appearance. She joined the varsity eight for 2007 championships after helping the novice eight to a Sprints title and undefeated season.

Juniors Grace Hollowell (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Laurel Gabard‑Durnam (Ithaca, N.Y.), freshman Marissa Reichel (Weston, Mass.) and rookie coxswain Jana Douglas (Belle Mead, N.J.) make up the rest of the varsity eight.

A Family Tradition

The last time Radcliffe won an IRA medal, in 2006, Sarah Bates '06, the older sister of Lizzy Bates, was the stroke of the varsity eight and the team captain. Lizzy Bates was the top Radcliffe performer in the lightweight event at this year's C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships. She placed 10th of 75 competitors with a 2,000-meter time of 7:29.4.

 

A New Trophy

This season's Radcliffe-MIT race marked the inaugural Linda Muri Cup, named for former MIT standout, Harvard Graduate School of Eduation alumna and current Harvard lightweight freshman coach Linda Muri.

 

Why Are We Called Radcliffe Crew?

The question is common and understandable-if we apply to, take classes at and graduate from Harvard-why are we called "Radcliffe Crew"? To best answer the question, it is important to understand the unique and deep history of Radcliffe and Harvard Colleges, and the beginning of Radcliffe Crew.

Radcliffe College, founded in 1879, was the female counterpart to the all-male Harvard College. A series of steps towards merging into one coed institution began in the 1960s, when Radcliffe students were first allowed to take classes at Harvard. This process was finally completed in 1999 with the transformation of Radcliffe from an undergraduate college to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, a graduate center for interdisciplinary scholarship; meaning that all current undergraduate students apply to, take classes at, and graduate from, Harvard.

Radcliffe Crew, the oldest women's rowing program in the Ivy League, was organized in the fall of 1971 by a group of enterprising Radcliffe athletes. The progress of the newly formed team was phenomenal and in 1973 Radcliffe won the national championship and represented the United States in the Eastern European Championships in Moscow. In 1974 the Eastern Sprints League (EAWRC) was formed, and in 1974 and 1975 Radcliffe won consecutive Sprints titles.

In 1976, two years after Harvard's Department of Athletics took over administration of Radcliffe athletics, the captains of the women's teams took a vote on whether they should remain Radcliffe in name and continue to compete in black and white or be called Harvard and compete in crimson. When the voting was done, only women's rowing had chosen to remain Radcliffe. The respect gained for women's athletics at Harvard by the early Radcliffe crews carried over to the 1976 vote and is maintained today by the Harvard women who race for Radcliffe in black and white. Our team is proud of the determined women who began our program and proud of the women who continue to race and win, as we always have, under the name Radcliffe Crew.

Something in the [Charles River] Water?

Harvard-Radcliffe crews have combined to win 23 official national
championships. The Crimson men's heavyweights have nine official
national championships, including the three of the last six, and eight
additional unofficial titles. The Harvard lightweights have won seven
titles, and the Radcliffe heavyweights have earned two.

The second-ranked Crimson lightweights and No. 3 Harvard
heavyweights are competing at the IRA regatta. The Radcliffe heavyweights raced last weekend in the NCAA Championships on the Cooper River.