Crimson Men's Heavyweights Cruise at Tail of the Charles

While Harvard-Yale tailgates got most students out of bed on a Saturday morning before 10 a.m. for the first time all fall this weekend, the Harvard men’s crews were already racing through the powerhouse stretch, bringing their fall season to a close with several victories at the Tail of the Charles.

The heavyweight squad hosted traditional Charles River rivals Boston University and Northeastern and also welcomed Brown, Dartmouth, Syracuse, MIT, and UMass, among other teams.

The men’s lightweight squad was the only lightweight team to participate in Saturday’s racing, although three MIT freshman eights joined the freshman eight event. All crews raced in fours with the exception of the freshman event, for which all boats were eights.

The Crimson heavyweights came away victorious in every event they raced on Saturday, adding to what has been a very successful fall season that began with top finishes at the Head of the Charles.

On Saturday, each four defeated its respective competition, and some knocked off higher-seeded boats as well, such as Harvard’s B four that finished in front of all A boat entries.

“We were really pleased with the performance,” heavyweight captain Anthony Locke said. “I think that as a team we had some really telling results. We beat Brown pretty much across the board. And, of course, the varsity fours performed great. I think it’s just a case of our hard training this fall allowing us to get into fours and make them go fast.”

The Crimson’s A and B fours finished first and second with times of 12:46.4—a course record—and 13:00.5, respectively. Syracuse A was a close third in 13:00.9, and BU claimed fourth in 13:07.7. Harvard C took fifth in 13:08.4, beating out Brown A, which took sixth in 13:09.2.

Harvard’s A four was composed of sophomore coxswain David Fuller, sophomore stroke James O’Connor, junior three seat Sam O’Connor, junior two seat Mike DiSanto, and sophomore bow seat Josh Hicks.

The Crimson also won the freshman eight event in a time of 12:08.2. The top heavyweight boat edged out second-place Boston University that finished in 12:11.2 and crossed the line nearly 24 seconds ahead of third-place Brown.

“Coming off of the fall, I think we are in a pretty good position,” Locke said. “We just need to keep pushing on. We can definitely gain some momentum with training through the winter and hopefully carry that into the spring.”

The Crimson lightweight fours had a strong performance against a field of heavyweights. Rowing tends to be a sport where mass moves boats, but lightweight rowing defies that perception. And on Saturday, the Harvard lightweights proved that size is not everything in this sport.

“[The Tail of the Charles] is always a tough race, because we’re racing against heavyweights,” captain Will Newell said. “It’s really the toughest competition we face out of the whole year. And I think overall the team did well.”

The lightweight A boat took seventh place, crossing the line just behind Brown’s A four in 13:15.1. The B four beat out much of the heavyweight field as well, finishing 12th in 13:31.2, just behind Northeastern’s A four.

The Crimson A four was the same line-up that claimed first at the Princeton Chase just a few weeks ago. It was composed of junior coxswain Angela Chang, sophomore stroke Matt O’Leary, junior three seat Tom Nesel, senior two seat Newell, and sophomore bow seat Erich Schultze.

In the freshman eight event, the Harvard lightweights entered three eights and one in combination with the heavyweight squad. The top lightweight boat took fifth, defeating many heavyweight boats as well as the top MIT lightweight eight, which took eighth overall.

“We have a really, really strong sophomore and junior class, as well as some good looking freshmen, and these results just show the depth of our squad,” Newell said.

Like the heavyweight team, the lightweights wrapped up fall competition with racing at the Tail. And, while the team’s fall results—particularly this past weekend’s strong showing against heavyweight opponents—position them well at this point in the year, they are eager to see where they can be this spring after a winter of indoor training.

“The biggest thing going into this winter is just going to be having the opportunity to work incredibly hard,” Newell said. “We will come out of winter training a lot stronger, a lot more fit, and just ready to race in the spring.”

—Staff writer Jessica L. Flakne can be reached at