Varsity eights approach the final stretch of the race. From left: Princeton, Yale, Brown, Harvard, Dartmouth and Cornell.
CAMDEN, N.J. — The Harvard heavyweight varsity eight won its semifinal and the second varsity and freshman eights placed second in theirs Friday as all three boats advanced to their respective grand finals on the second day of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships on the Cooper River.
The varsity eight won the tightest race of the day in its semifinal. The crowd on shore grew into a frenzy as two seats separated the six crews—all from the Ivy League—after 500 meters. Brown, Harvard and Yale all took turns in the lead across the middle 1,000 meters, with Cornell joining the frontrunners with Dartmouth close behind in the final 500. The Crimson outsprinted its Ivy rivals, winning by a half-second in 05:37.284.
The Bears finished second, just three-hundredths of a second ahead of the Big Red, while the Big Green missed the grand final by half a second. The other semifinal was also close, as Washington edged Cal to first place and Syracuse surged in the final strokes to beat Boston University for third by one-fiftieth of a second. The grand final for the national title will be Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
The second varsity secured its spot in the grand final when it left behind fourth-place Northeastern approaching the 1,000-meter mark. The Crimson soon caught up to leaders California and Cornell. It became a two-boat race in the final 500 meters. The Golden Bears hung on by 1.6 seconds, as Harvard finished second in 5:49.871, nearly seven seconds ahead of the Big Red. Semifinal 2 winner Washington, Brown and Wisconsin also made the grand final.
The Crimson freshmen emerged as qualifiers from another tightly packed semifinal. California built a lead in the second 500 meters, as Harvard, Boston University and Stanford raced neck-and-neck. Cal hung on to become the first team to defeat the Crimson this season, holding off the Harvard sprint by 1.8 seconds. The Crimson placed second in 5:50.384, three-tenths of a second ahead of Stanford. The Cardinal topped BU by a quarter-second for the last grand final berth. Washington, Cornell and Princeton advanced from the other semifinal.
Cornell jumped out to an early lead in Harvard’s open four heat and led throughout. The Crimson was in second through 1,000 meters, holding a narrow lead on Washington. The Huskies went on to a second-place finish, and Brown edged Harvard at the line for the final qualifying spot. The Crimson finished in 6:30.242, barely a second back of the Bears.
Second Varsity Eight
Boston University 6:00.800
Boston University 5:50.905
Oregon State 6:07.746