For Princeton crew, this spring has been one to remember. All four first varsity eights are currently unbeaten, with the women's heavyweights, women's lightweights, and men's lightweights currently ranked first in the nation. While the No. 2 Harvard lightweights won't get a crack at the Tigers until an Apr. 30 race on the Charles, Princeton's undefeated streak could soon come to an end at the hands of the No. 3 Harvard heavyweights.
The battle between the third-ranked Crimson, the fourth-ranked Tigers, and MIT for the Compton Cup will take place on Lake Carnegie, Princeton's home course. Because neither squad will face No. 1 Washington or No. 2 California until IRAs, the dual match will likely prove be the toughest on both teams' schedules.
That is, unless the race proves to be a repeat of last year, in which a heavyweight slugfest turned into an easy victory for Harvard after the Tigers lost the bow of their boat. Midway through the race, Princeton's rudder cable broke, and the crew lost control of its steering and crashed into the stern of the Crimson's shell. Harvard's Empacher, named for Olympian Malcolm Howard '05, was undamaged by the collision, while the Tigers were forced to stop rowing, their ruined boat obstructing the course of fellow competitor MIT, which took second to the Crimson.
"Next year we would like Harvard to stop rowing also," Engineers' coach Tony Kilbridge said of the race, according to the team's official website.
MIT hasn't won the Compton Cup, named after its former university President Dr. Karl T. Compton, since 1962.
Neither Harvard nor the Engineers should expect a defeat over undefeated Princeton to come as easily this year; rankings suggest that the Tigers will give the Crimson its toughest test yet. Harvard topped seventh-ranked Brown last weekend by 2.6 seconds last weekend and returns six members of last year's first varsity eight that won both EARC Sprints and the Ladies' Challenge Plate at Henley Royal Regatta.