Harvard men’s crew posted a strong performance at this year’s EARC sprints in Worcester, Massachusetts. For the Crimson, this regatta was even more meaningful as the squad was competing to claim the newly established cup named for the late Harry Parker, the former Harvard coach who passed away last summer.
Just 1.7 seconds made the difference between winning and losing for the Harvard heavyweights on Lake Quinsigamond. The first varsity boat managed to outrace Brown in the Grand Finals, completing the course at 5:27.277, while Brown posted a time of 5:28.998.
With a four-year Rowe Cup streak on the line, the elite heavyweights had to perform in their final heat. After wins in 3V and freshman eight events, Brown was closing in on the title, and it fell on the Crimson’s varsity eight to defend it.
The boat rose to the challenge, as the Crimson posted a time that was almost 30 seconds faster than last year’s time at the EARC sprints. With this new mark, the eight narrowly missed branding a new record for the competition.
Harvard’s 3V group notched a fourth place finish in the Petite Finals, coming in at 5:58:358.
The freshman boat also assisted in propelling Harvard to victory, claiming second place in its heat. Harvard fell to Brown in the tight race, as the Bruno held onto a lead to coast past the red buoys .62 seconds before the Crimson.
In the second varsity division, Harvard was unable to pull off an upset over Northeastern’s 2V group, a lineup that has been ranked first in its division all year. The Crimson put in a gritty effort to finish in fifth place with a time of 5:41.170.
The 4V men just narrowly missed qualifying for Grand Finals with a fifth place finish in prelims, and continued on to claim a fourth place finish in Petite Finals on the day.
In clinching the victory over Brown, the Crimson managed to not only capture the crown, but also claim the EARC cup for a fifth consecutive year, tied for the longest streak in program history. Besides claiming the Rowe Cup, this victory also clinched the Ivy League title, and with the win the heavyweights also took home the Harry Parker cup in its inaugural year, a very special result for the Crimson.
The fifth ranked lightweight squad managed a third place finish at the EARC sprints, thanks to strong efforts across the board from the Crimson.
“Eastern sprints has an incredible tradition and atmosphere for us, and we’ve been training for this every day that we’ve been together,” freshman Mark Steinbrick said. “There’s always high expectations, and while we had hoped for a better outcome, the team had incredible races across the board.”
The Crimson had its work cut out going into the sprints, with frontrunner Cornell controlling competition from the beginning.
“I think that the league this year is really strong,” junior captain Xander Bonorris said. “All of the teams are really deep, and you can see that in the results... We knew it was going to be tough to compete on the sprints stage, but I was really happy to see all of our crews fight really hard.”
The lightweight crew went into this weekend’s races fresh off of losses to Yale and Princeton at the annual HYP regatta two weeks prior.
“After losing at HYP, we were really looking to close the gap between us and those crews,” Bonorris said. “And we certainly did that this weekend. The goal can only be improvement, and that’s what we showed.”
The freshman eight posted the highest placing performance of the day, claiming second place in its sprint. The boat put up a strong fight, finishing four seconds behind Penn in Grand Finals.
Both the first and second varsity boats claimed fifth-place finishes at the regatta. With a time of 5:46, the varsity eight rowed competitively, staying in the contest until the very end.
The 2V group outperformed its own showing that morning by four seconds in the finals. In spite of this marked improvement, the Crimson again fell short of the podium.
“I thought that across the board all of the boats had strong races,” Bonorris said. “We showed some of the strongest performances we’ve seen all year, and I think that’s the most important thing. If you can show improvement from race to race, that’s what really matters.”
—Staff writer Jillian Dukes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.