The sheriff caught up.
For two years and six races the M.I.T. crew has been tailing the Crimson and invariably the pursued made it over the finish line just a step ahead. Saturday the Tech boat out-sprinted Harvard by one tenth of a second and four feet to win the 2000 meter Eastern rowing championship on the Severn at Annapolis.
Only the freshmen took a first for the Crimson in the regatta which Harvard swept clean in all events last year at Syracuse. The J.V.'s lost to a hot Princeton shell by half a length. How-ever the Crimson accumulated enough points from the three races to hold on to the Rowe Cup, awarded to the school which performs best in all the contests. It was the first time the varsity lost the E.A.R.C. since 1946 when Wisconsin won.
Twelve crews entered the varsity event but the race eventually became a private affair between Tech and Harvard. Penn and Princeton, rowing at a relatively high cadence, led the field for the first three quarters of a mile with the other ten crews bunched closely behind.
During this portion of the racing, both the Engineers and the Crimson rowed at a 32 stroke while most of the other shells paddled along at a faster pace. With a little less than a half mile to go, the two old rivals opened up and lunged forward at such speed that it seemed the other crews had stopped rowing.
Tech jacked its stroke to 40 as against the Crimson's 37 and grabbed a slight lead which it never lost. Harvard was gaining on M.I.T. in the very last stages of the sprint but didn't go fast enough, and the Engineers succeeded in ending a long period of frustration.
This race was not an extraordinary upset. It is important to recognize what careful observers of local rowing have known all season--Jim McMillin's M.I.T. crew is excellent.
Those who like to worry about causation can also consider that the Harvard eight erred in not taking its beat above 37. But perhaps it didn't think it necessary or perhaps that "indefinable something" necessary for getting the stroke up was missing.
Princeton, Pennsylvania, Syracuse, Yale, Columbia, Navy, Cornell, Wisconsin, B.U., and Rutgers finished behind the winner and runner-up in that order. The Tigers were about a deck and a length behind the two leading shells.
Princeton led all the way in taking the J.V. race and for the third successive week the Tiger second boat rowed its race in better time than the Princeton varsity. The J.V.'s had a 6:33 to their first boat's 6:34. Harvard's J.V. recorded a 6:36.2.
In the freshman race, the Crimson led Princeton home by a bit more than half a length after a closely fought race in which the highly touted B.U. yearlings finished third, a quarter length behind the Tigers.
At Derby, Connecticut, Yale's 150-pound crew beat the Crimson and Princeton to win the Goldthwaite Cup, the Big Three's lightweight crew's championship. The Elis also won the J.V. and freshman races, all of which were rowed over the Henley distance as was the varsity contest. Harvard placed third in the varsity race and second in the other two