Season Preview: Road to Medal Stand Starts Saturday for Radcliffe Lights

Radcliffe opens its season from its home base at Weld Boathouse (photo courtesy Jacquie Labatt).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The Radcliffe lightweight crew will look to continue the momentum from last season’s fourth-place finish at the IRA National Championships when it kicks off the 2010 spring season Saturday morning against Buffalo.

Radcliffe made great strides in 2009 under first-year head coach Heather Cartwright. The Black and White registered a 5-1 dual record and capped the year with an impressive IRA showing. The team will look to pick up where it left off as it seeks even more success in 2010.

Eight of nine competitors from Radcliffe’s IRA entry are back this season, led by senior captains Amanda Pfabe and Grace Hollowell. Four of those athletes—Pfabe and juniors Lizzy Bates, Wynne Evans and Natalie Wong—have rowed in the varsity eight in each of their years at Harvard. Three—Hollowell, Pfabe and Laurel Gabard-Durnam—are seniors. Also returning from the 2009 varsity are coxswain Jana Douglas and fellow sophomore Marissa Reichel.

Last season’s second varsity eight also lost just one senior to graduation, and Cartwright welcomes a large, talented group of freshmen as well.  Among those back from the second varsity eight, which placed second at Eastern Sprints, are seniors Lauren Brown and Medha Khandelwal.

These athletes will be sprinkled throughout the top two Radcliffe boats as the season begins and will battle other strong returnees and rookies for seats throughout the spring. Cartwright notes that the increased competition has actually aided team chemistry, and the Black and White is united as it seeks to land on the Sprints and IRA medal stands at season’s end.

The size of the freshman class also aids the Radcliffe novice program, coached by Carrie Morelock, setting up the Black and White for a bright future.

The Schedule
The Black and White is racing at home in four of its five dual regattas, traveling only to defend the Class of 2009 Cup against rival Princeton April 24. Radcliffe will host races against three of the other four IRA grand finalists: champion Wisconsin, Stanford and Georgetown.

This Weekend
Radcliffe and Buffalo will compete in one 2,000-meter race Saturday at 8:30 a.m. on the Charles River. The Black and White will enter two varsity eights, while the Bulls will enter one. The racing course on the Charles begins in the Charles River basin, about 100 meters upstream from the Longfellow Bridge, and ends just downstream of the Hyatt Regency hotel.

Varsity Eight
Cox: Jana Douglas, 8: Erika McCormick, 7: Natalie Wong, 6: Lizzy Bates, 5: Kelly McCarthy, 4: Marissa Reichel, 3: Amanda Pfabe, 2: Grace Hollowell, 1: Liz Hamilton

Second Varsity Eight
Cox: Maryana Vrubel, 8: Emma Lucasiewicz, 7: Charlotte Lane, 6: Lauren Brown, 5: Veronique Irwin, 4: Wynne Evans, 3: Medha Khandelwal, 2: Emily Boyd Walker, 1: Laurel Garbard-Durnam