The Radcliffe lightweight varsity crew yesterday captured the national championship, while their heavyweight counterparts placed a respectable fifth at the Women's Collegiate National Championships on Lake Occoquan in Occoquan, Va.
In the heavyweight contest, the untouchable University of Washington claimed its fifth straight national title.
The remaining crew's waged an extremely close race for second place, with only three seconds separating the second and sixth-place finishers. The Radcliffe heavies finished behind Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Princeton.
"No one was expected to touch Washington, but we could have finished second," said temporary Radcliffe heavyweight Coach Bruce Beall (usually the men's lightweight coach). Beall substituted for Coach List Stone, who is expecting her first child.
"It was a very close race between everyone else," he said.
The racecourse was shortened from 2000 to 1750 meters because of a dam problem near the official start. This switch proved to favor the heavies as they improved their times against the first and second-place Eastern Sprints finishers, Princeton and Wisconsin.
Princeton clinche the Sprints with an explosive final burst, finishing nearl four seconds ahead of fifth-place Radcliffe. Yesterday, however, the Tiggers placed fourth, only one second ahead of the Black and White.
"Princeton won the Sprints, so comparatively our finish wasn't that disappointing," said seven-seat Alison Fowirley.
The undefeated lights traveled to Virginia hoping to find a team that could challenge them--but not such luck. The lights embarrassed the University of Oregon crew, the only other entrant, swamping the Beavers by nearly 20 seconds.
Although the Oregon crew placed second by only one second in the Pacific Coast Crew Classic, the equivalent of the Eastern Sprints, they were no competition for the Radcliffe dynamos.
"They [Oregon] were representative of the best of the Western crews," said Radcliffe Coach K.C. Dietz.
The lights completed their season by demonstrating complete domination of lightweight crew on both coasts, having claimed the Sprints over Smith two weeks ago.