Cups Beyond Reach For Radcliffe Boats

Unnamed photo
Hiroko Kumaki

Harvard won three of its four races on the Charles Saturday afternoon, but surrendered the Class of 1975 Cup to the Tigers.

While the Radcliffe heavyweights won three of four varsity races on the Charles this weekend, the lightweights traveled to the Cooper River in New Jersey and took top three finishes in two heats that advanced two boats to the grand final.

The race of the day in Massachusetts was the second varsity matchup between Princeton, Cornell, and Radcliffe in which the Black and White staged a come-from-behind win with an aggressive move in the last 500 meters.

“It’s mentally a challenge to come from behind,” assistant coach Cory Bosworth said of the heavyweights. “But, they were so composed and always fighting. When they moved they really committed to it. It was tremendous to watch and a huge race to get under their belt.”

In New Jersey, the Radcliffe A eight impressed with the fastest time of the day on Saturday in its second heat.

Success for both squads below the first varsity level displayed the Radcliffe program’s depth.

CLASS OF 1975 CUP

The first varsity eight allowed Princeton to gain a lead in the first 1,000 meters but kept pace through the second half of the course cruising to a 6:51.8 finish—6.1 seconds behind the Tigers, who won the cup back from No. 13 Radcliffe.

Ideal conditions made for an uncommon day on the notorious Charles.

“We couldn’t have asked for better conditions in April on the Charles, which has a reputation for being wet and windy,” Bosworth said. “There was a cross-tail wind for most races; the rain held off didn’t get us too wet.”

The second varsity boat took advantage of the pleasant day on home water, taking a five-second open-water win over Princeton after surging past the Tigers’ boat.

Later, the third varsity four A jumped ahead to a full boat length lead in the first quarter of the race, winning by 6.6 seconds. The third varsity four B added its own 9.5 second win over Penn.

The Black and White placed third in each novice race behind Princeton in first and Cornell in second.

“I had high hopes for the first novice boat,” Bosworth said. “I think we didn’t handle the race at home as well, we weren’t in the race mentality we needed to be in. I believe they can go much faster and I look forward to working with them.”

KNECHT CUP

The No. 4 lightweights took to the road to face No. 2 Stanford and seven other top-15 teams, and after advancing two boats to the grand finals, ultimately placed second and fifth behind first place Stanford. Wisconsin advanced three boats to yesterday’s grand finals.

“Across the league some top schools have really good kids on their teams, not just one good, fast boat; they each have a couple,” head coach William Stevens said.

In Saturday’s heats, the Radcliffe B eight placed third in the first heat, while the A eight took first place in the second with the fastest time of the day. The four took fourth place in its heat behind Tulsa, who paced the race at 7:43.7. The novice eight pulled in behind Wisconsin to finish the day’s races.

Yesterday the grand final featured a showdown between Stanford and Radcliffe, and the Cardinal took a 4.3 second advantage. A strong tailwind sped up the race, and choppy waves posed a challenge. The Black and White held its ground not ceding defeat until the final strokes.

“Going into the race we knew that Stanford was still the team to beat,” Stevens said. “They’re probably the fastest lightweight boat in the country. We have the expectation that we will be the fastest team by the end of the season.”

—Staff writer Elizabeth A. Joyce can be reached at eajoyce@fas.harvard.edu.

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