Coming off of a weekend that saw each team face elite competition at the Clemson Invitational and Lightweight Invitational, the Radcliffe heavyweights and lightweights both traveled to familiar rivals for dual meets.
A week after knocking off then-no. 1 Stanford and claiming the top rank for itself, the Black and White traveled to Princeton, N.J. this weekend to face No. 3 Princeton on Lake Carnegie for the Class of 1999 Cup.
The Radcliffe first varsity eight was more than ready for the challenge, building upon an open-water lead throughout the second half of the race to finish 10 seconds in front of the Tigers.
With the victory, the top boat for the Black and White has now beaten its two closest competitors rankings-wise in back-to-back weeks.
“I feel like this year we are all extremely driven as a boat,” junior Adelaide Backer said. “Everyone is just so hungry to get that open water and to not give up any seconds in the race just because we are already ahead: building on that margin sends a message.”
In the second varsity race, Radcliffe made its move early and continued to extend its lead, finishing 15 seconds ahead of Princeton with a time of 7:29.7.
The Black and White varsity four completed the sweep for Radcliffe in style, finishing in 8:28.1, more than 45 seconds faster than their Tiger counterparts.
“It feels pretty awesome [to beat Stanford and Princeton back-to-back],” Backer said. “Our whole team is really excited, but we are still all going to be really on our game going into the next few weeks of training because we were on top last year at this point in the year as well and Stanford ended up beating us at IRAs. We don’t want to rest on our accomplishments, we want to keep improving and keep getting stronger so that we are able to maintain our title as the top crew in the country.”
On Saturday, No. 16 Radcliffe traveled to New Haven, Conn. to race No. 11 Yale on the Housatonic River.
The Bulldogs got the best of the Black and White in the varsity eight, the premier race of the day, finishing in 6:12.1 to beat Radcliffe by five seconds and win the Nathanial H. Case Cup for the third straight year.
The second varsity eight race came down to the wire, as the Black and White edged out Yale by a few seats to win by a second. Radcliffe took an early lead, and, while the Bulldogs were able to move back into the race in the final sprint, it was too little, too late for the home squad.
“The big thing about the Yale course is the turn,” senior Eliza Flint said. “We were on the inside of the turn, so our main goal was to get out early and gain as much as possible before the turn. We were able to do that and it really set us up for a nice position coming out of the turn.”
The Radcliffe varsity four followed in the footsteps of the second varsity eight, barely beating out the Bulldogs for a two-second victory in the second and final race of the day for the Black and White.
Yale earned a win in the second varsity four with a five-second margin, and beat two Radcliffe boats in the third varsity eight race to round out the day.
“It was great having at least two NCAA boats win this weekend,” Flint said. “The [varsity four] had a fantastic race; they were down until the last 750 meters before they just walked through Yale. Having two of those three boats win really puts us in a great position to take everything that we have learned from the past few weeks of racing and prepare for the Ivy Championships.”
—Staff writer Ty Aderhold can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.