Harvard heavyweight crew is beginning to get, well, almost boring. Coach Harry Parker's oarsmen have not lost since the spring of 1973, and the most colorful thing about the crew over that period may just be the multi-colored wardrobe of shirts the Crimson has won from other schools.
But the streak--along with the reputation and mystique of Harvard crew--will be put on the line at noon today when the Syracuse eight and Harvard go at each other on the Charles.
Got a Hanger?
Will the Crimson oarsmen add an orange shirt to their store of clothing? No one--literally, no one--knows for sure. And the granite-faced Parker is not about to make any predictions.
"Syracuse is an unknown," Parker said yesterday. "We know they have some good people from last year, and they had a couple of good freshman boats, so we expect them to be strong."
Harvard, if not the clearcut favorite, is still an outstanding crew. Five oarsmen remain from last year's strong boat. Senior bowman Jon White and senior captain Bill Kerins (at number two) return to box positions. Senior John Brock and junior George Aitken (12-ft. 10-in. collective height, 424-lb. collective weight) will be back at the power five and six positions, and junior Tom Howes will fill the starboard seven spot.
A trio of sophomores have risen from last year's Henley Regatta champion freshman boat to fill in the remaining three seats on the first boat. Gordy Gardiner takes over the stroking chores from Ollie Scholle, Warren Perkins (the four-man) joins Aitken and Brock in a powerful middle section, and Paul Templeton will row in the starboard three position.
Junior cox Jeff Rothstein rounds out what is, in sum, a strong group. Parker is safe when he says, "I think it's going to be a good crew."
Orange and Rust
Good though they may be, the Crimson must overcome two obstacles to win--the Orangemen, and the possibility of rustiness that hovers over any athletic team in early season competition. Parker's crew has been together as a unit for only three days, and they did not take their usual trip to the San Diego Classic.
But Parker is not worried about the short period together. "They fit together pretty well," he said yesterday. "I;m anxious to see how well they do."
Which, despite the question marks, should be very well.
Still, an air of anxious, nearly jittery tension at Newell Boathouse yesterday verified that the outcome is still very much in doubt. But a lot of the tension broke during a free-for-all pick-up basketball game on the boathouse landing, played with a trash can mounted on the wall.
"Don't worry," one oarsman confided to a bystander after the game had broken up. "We're going to imtimidate Syracuse with the height of our basketball rim."
And possibly with their rowing ability, too. In any event, by 12:07 this afternoon, Cambridge will know whether the Harvard heavyweight crew will have added a few orange shirts to its wardrobe and, in so doing, resumed its affair with greatness.