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Since 1966, the competition between the Harvard and Penn heavyweight crews has resembled a game of "king on the mountain." Each Spring a Quaker boat stronger than the previous year's has challenged the Crimson's hold on the national title.
Until last year, the Crimson reigned supreme, but on the Schuylkill River last May the Quakers overwhelmed the Crimson eight, Harvard, however, climbed to the top again with an impressive one length victory over Penn at the Eastern Intercollegiate Sprints the following weekend.
Penn should field its best boat ever this Spring, making it even harder for the Crimson to remain on top. The six returning oarsmen from the Quakers' first boat will be supported by members of last year's undefeated freshman team.
In comparison, Harvard has only five men returning from its first boat, and its freshman crew lost to Penn's twice. But Harry Parker is the Harvard coach, and his exceptional rowing knowledge and rare inspirational abilities may well offset Penn's manpower advantages.
Parker will build his navy from a nucleus of seniors Steve Brooks. Mike Livingston, Charlie Hamlin, and captain Pete Rogers, and junior Bill Hobbs, all of whom are veterans of last Spring's races. A number of last year's freshman and junior varsity heavyweights are now fighting for the open seats, and the spirited competition could help give Parker the three top rowers he needs.
While the heavyweight crew will battle Penn for the national title, the Crimson lightweights should row to their third straight undefeated season.
Four oarsmen are returning from last year's boat, including captain and strokeman Dave Harmon, Dick Moore, Rod Peterson, and Kim Kiley. Seven of the eight members of last year's undefeated freshman crew have returned and, along with several junior varsity rowers, are now competing for the four available seats.
"I am very encouraged by what I see." coach Steve Gladstone said last week. "both by the tremendous return and by the performance this Fall."
In its division of the Head of the Charles race this Fall, the Harvard lightweight eight romped to an easy victory over Yale and M. I. T., two teams that Gladstone ranks as tough competitors.
A new set of rowing tanks, a gift of the Friends of Harvard Crew, will improve the Crimson crews' Winter program. The new tanks will provide Harvard rowers with additional indoor rowing space and by providing faster-running water and a boat tilt, will simalate river conditions far better than the old set can.
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