Lightweight crew at Radcliffe is getting some heavy participation. The Crimson lightweights are overflowing with talented oarswomen, enough to fill four and one-half boats. Thirty-six women have taken to the Charles in pursuit of victory.
Third-year coach Peter Huntsman said he was confident of his team's ability, but declined to make any predictions for the season because he said he had no idea about the other teams' abilities.
This morning, the lightweights will open their season against the heavyweight team from Andover, a meet in which Huntsman has decided not to race his varsity boat because he believes the boat's rowers are "too strong" for the prep school's eight.
That varsity boat is made up of six returning varsity oarswomen and two first-year crew members. Leading the eight will be junior captain Jane Roy, a third-year varsity member.
Newcomers Nancy Kerrebrock and Rian Smith occupy seats four and five in the middle of the boat. Huntsman is especially optimistic about Kerrebrock, who he said is "one of the strongest people I've ever seen."
Huntsman characterized his varsity boat as a "racy group," explaining that all the women have an attitude geared towards speed, aggressiveness, and winning. he pointed to the women's attitudes as one of the most hopeful aspects of the program.
"Everyone is not only working hard," the coach siad, "but they enjoy working hard." He added that their determination has produced a team that he has no doubts about.
Sophomore Susie Peterson, with a year of experience behind her, will occupy the varsity cox seat for the lightweights. Huntsman had no long comments on Peterson. He said simply "she's tremendous."
The lightweights also boast three additional eights and a junior varsity four. Two of the eights are all novice boats. The third is made up of seven novices and one veteran oarswoman.
Huntsman said this abundance of rowers makes Radcliffe one of the few teams with real depth. The junior varsity and novice boats, comprised primarily of newcomers, are untested groups, but they are beginning their experience this morning. Huntsman is optimistic about their prospects for the season.
Since Huntsman has taken control of the team in 1975, the Radcliffe women have had mixed fortunes. In '75, the oarswomen finished second in The Sprints, losing only to Boston University. But last year, the lightweights won no such stellar accolades. They were "not that fast," Huntsman said.
This year, though, Huntsman is very quick to boast that the team is "the best I've ever put together." He looks for B.U. to be the major competition, as usual.
The lightweights will find out soon how good the Terriers are. Next weekend, Radcliffe will face B.U., Cornell, Dartmouth, and Brown in a five-team affair.
But if the Terriers are to drown out Radcliffe's optimism, they will have to do much more than a dog paddle, because the Crimson boats look very strong.