After falling in the latest Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) polls from No. 2 to No. 3, the Harvard heavyweight crew turned the boat around this weekend, defeating No. 6 Northeastern for the Charlie Smith Cup.
Rowing on a beautiful Saturday morning, the Crimson's first varsity boat cruised to a time of 5:44.3 to take the Cup while the Northeastern boat finished a second behind at 5:45.3.
"They took a small lead right off the line," senior Todd Morgan said. "We probably caught them around 400 [meters]."
The Crimson soon passed the Huskies' boat and tried to break through for an open-water lead.
"We started to move off on them at about 500 meters," Morgan said. "We got a three-quarters of a length lead at 1200 meters. We were trying to get away, but they just wouldn't let us go."
"About 500 meters left, they started to shift into a new gear, but I thought we responded well to fight them off," Morgan added.
Harvard lost two weekends ago to Penn, and when the new rankings were released on April 27, the Quakers had jumped ahead of the Crimson, much like they did on the Schuykill River in Philadelphia that Saturday.
The Northeastern race, however, helped ease the pain.
"I think we were pretty pleased with the race," Morgan said. "I definitely think it was an improvement over last week."
The one improvement to be made, Morgan said, could be a better effort to open up a larger lead.
"We definitely would have liked to get that open water at about 1200 meters," he said. "We had a chance to just win it right there, and we didn't. But we had a very good sprint--a very good response to the pressure they put on us."
In the second varsity race, the Crimson toppled Northeastern by 3.5 seconds, winning in 6:00.3.
Northeastern's only win on the day came with a rowing of the third varsity fours. The Northeastern boat finished at 6:49 while the first Harvard boat crossed the line at 6:56. A second Crimson boat finished in 7:04.
The Crimson's first freshman boat, ranked No. 1 in its class by EARC, scorched to a time of 5:45.8, followed by the Huskies at 5:55.3.
The second freshman race ended with Harvard catching a break to win in 6:04. Northeastern, which was about a half-length behind in the last 500 meters, caught an "over the header," which is when an oar gets stuck in the water and flips back over the rower's head.
The incident slowed Northeastern down significantly, and the Huskies ended up finishing in 6:13.
Next Sunday, the Harvard heavyweight and lightweight crews will be at the EARC Eastern Sprints on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester.
"I think it's very apparent that Princeton is the crew to beat," Morgan said. "They go in as the definite favorites. The rest of us will try to go in there and knock them off." NORTHEASTERN 5:45.3 HARVARD (1st Boat) 5:44.3 NORTHEASTERN 5:55.3 HARVARD (1st Frosh) 5:45.8