WORCESTER, Mass--An undefeated season came to an end for the Radcliffe varsity heavyweight crew yesterday at Lake Quinsigamond, Worcester.
A strong Wisconsin eight broke away from Radcliffe at the 1000-meter mark and moved on to win by one length, covering the 1500-meter course in 5:36. First-seeded Yale finished second, .7 seconds astern of the Badgers, while the 'Cliffe was third in 5:40.
With the loss a 21-race winning streak also came to an end. Radcliffe's last defeat was three years ago, to Princeton. Since that date, the heavies had also won three consecutive Eastern sprint championships, defeating the Badgers in last year's final by open water.
Yale jumped the gun on the start, forcing the race to be called back. On the second start, Radcliffe took an early oneseat lead, and held onto it for 400 meters. Then, Wisconsin took a power 20 and drew even with the black-shirted oarwomen, setting the stage for a bowball-to-bowball battle for the next 600 meters.
Yale moved into the pack at the 500-meter mark, and stayed there until 400 meters remained, when they also pulled away from the heavies.
"I think everyone rowed as hard as they could. There was nothing that went horribly wrong. It just wasn't fast enough," said number three Alison Hill, a member of all three of Radcliffe's previous sprint-winning crews.
Radcliffe cruised into the finals by easily winning its heat. Its time, 5:32.4, was 2 second faster than Wisconsin's, and 7 seconds quicker than Yale's.
The day's closest race was in the junior varsity event, where Radcliffe powered by the Badgers in the last 20 strokes enroute to a .3 second win.
By virtue of their victory, the J.V. eight extended their domination of the event to two years. In addition, they maintained their ownfour-year streak, never having lost a collegiate regular season race in their history.
"That last 500 meters was our strongest 500 this year," said stroke Anne Robinson. "Everyone wanted it."
"The cadence was very low until the 1000 meter mark, when we took it up two strokes a minute. I knew we could do it. We worked hard, and just pulled away from them at the end. The went out there to do it, and they really rowed a hard race," coxswain Patti Glovski said.
The J.V. found themselves a seat down after 10 stokes and held the Badgers there for the first third of the contest. The two eights stayed even for the next 500 meters, until Wisconsin regained its one-seat margin at the 1000, and held it until the 'Cliffe rowed through them with only 200 meters to go.
The heavyweight novice four, entered in the varsity four event, qualified for the finals by finishing third of five crews in their heat. In the finals, however, they finished last of six crews, one length out of fifth place.