CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Radcliffe's lightweight crew competes for league titles and medals Sunday at the Eastern Association of Women's Rowing Colleges Championships on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. Racing begins at 8 a.m., with the lightweight varsity eight grand final coming at 3:05 p.m.
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Coach Cartwright's Comments
"We had a great regatta last year with all our athletes earning medals. We're looking to duplicate that this year and turn some of the silver and bronze medals from last year into golds." – head coach Heather Cartwright at Wednesday's Sprints luncheon
Cox: Maryana Vrubel, 8: Marissa Reichel, 7: Natalie Wong, 6: Emma Lukasiewicz, 5: Lizzy Bates, 4: Lillian Alexander, 3: Kelly McCarthy, 2: Erika McCormick, 1: Julia Mason
The Radcliffe lightweight varsity eight earned its first Sprints medal since 2006 with a third-place showing, highlighting a strong team performance in which each of the other three Black and White entries placed second. All 32 of Radcliffe's competing lightweight athletes earned medals, led by the varsity eight, which had placed fourth in each of the previous three seasons. The Black and White varsity topped No. 5 Georgetown by more than two seconds in 6:46.646. Radcliffe finished three seconds behind No. 3 Princeton and less than eight back of top-ranked Wisconsin.
The second varsity eight finished less than six seconds behind Wisconsin. The varsity four trailed only Princeton, which did not enter a second varsity eight, finishing about three seconds behind. The novice eight finished between Wisconsin and Princeton in a three-team field. The Yale heavyweight team was the only other EAWRC squad to have all of its competitors earn medals.
Records and Rankings
The Radcliffe lightweight varsity owns a 6-2 record, including two wins while racing as a four, and has been ranked fourth in USRowing Collegiate Poll throughout the season. The Black and White has defeated the teams ranked fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth in the latest national poll, while its two losses have come against the top two teams in the rankings.
The second varsity eight posted a 4-0 record against other second varsities and also defeated the seventh-ranked Buffalo varsity eight. The varsity four defeated MIT in its only competitive action so far.
Dual Season Recap
It has been a successful spring so far for Radcliffe, which split its top boat into a pair of fours to defeat Tulsa and MIT in a season-opening regatta. The team's lone road trip was a challenging one, and the Black and White responded, downing No. 5 Georgetown by about three-quarters of a boat length on the Potomac River to win the Class of 2004 Cup.
The competition did not get easier back home on the Charles. The conditions were equally tough, as Radcliffe's races against No. 2 Stanford were moved upstream and shortened due to strong winds and whitecap waves. The Cardinal won the varsity race and stayed closer to the Radcliffe second varsity than any other dual opponent, falling by 4.8 seconds. The Black and White varsity and second varsity eights downed the No. 7 Buffalo varsity a day later.
The Radcliffe varsity finished between top-ranked Princeton and No. 6 Bucknell, topping the Bison by 13.4 seconds. The second varsity beat the Tigers by 12.7. The Black and White capped the dual campaign by taking three races and the Muri Cup from Cambridge neighbor MIT.
Radcliffe Lightweight Sprints Titles
The Radcliffe lightweights have won the Eastern title at Sprints 12 times. Nine of those championships came in varsity eight races: 1977, '80, '82, '84, '85, '87, '97, 2004. On three other occasions (1993, '94 and '96), the Black and White won the Sprints title by virtue of its win in the varsity four when no varsity eight race was contested. Radcliffe also won the varsity four in 1995 and '98 and won the novice eight in 2007.
The Medal Stand
The Black and White varsity lightweight varsity eight is seeking its second straight Sprints medal following a three-year drought. The second varsity has earned silver the past two years, and the varsity four has been the runner-up at two of the last three Sprints regattas.
The Team Competition
In 2007, the EAWRC lightweight coaches established the Konrad Ulbrich Trophy, awarded annually to the lightweight team with the best overall performance at Sprints. The trophy is presented in memory of Konrad Ulbrich, a dedicated father who never missed a race during the time that his daughters rowed for Radcliffe. Wisconsin has won the Ulbrich Trophy in all four years of its existence. Radcliffe placed second in last year's team standings, fourth in 2009, second in 2008 and third in 2007.
Eyes on IRAs
The IRA National Championships will be on the Cooper River June 2-4. Radcliffe has won five lightweight national titles: in 1991, '93, '95, '96 and '97. The varsity eight finished fourth each of the last two seasons and won medals every year from 2000 to '06.
Head coach Heather Cartwright is in her third year guiding the Black and White lightweights. Before arriving at Radcliffe, she coached the Boston University heavyweight varsity four to a silver medal at the 2006 Sprints and two years earlier guided the Princeton second varsity eight to a bronze medal. She came to Radcliffe with 15 years of coaching experience, on the high-school, club, collegiate, provincial and national‑team levels.
Former Radcliffe heavyweight captain Carrie Morelock '07 is in her third season assisting Cartwright.
Seniors Leah Schwartz (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Natalie Wong (Mill Valley, Calif.) are the captains of the Black and White lightweight squad. Schwartz joined Radcliffe as a novice rower during her freshman year and is now part of the second varsity eight. Wong came to Harvard as a two-time youth national medalist and has rowed in the varsity eight in each of the four years since.
The Varsity Eight
Six members of last year's bronze-winning varsity eight are set to race in Radcliffe's top lightweight boat at this year's Sprints. Natalie Wong and Lizzy Bates (Tenants Harbor, Maine) are four-year members of the varsity eight, while junior stroke Marissa Reichel (Weston, Mass.) is in her third season in the boat. Junior Kelly McCarthy (Los Gatos, Calif.) and sophomores Emma Lukasiewicz (Toronto, Ont.) and Erika McCormick (Lower Gwnedd, Pa.) are also back in the varsity boat. That group is joined by sophomore rowers Lillian Alexander (Cabot, Vt.) and Julia Mason (Alamo, Calif.) and junior coxswain Maryana Vrubel (Millbury, Mass.).