Much to coach Harry Parker's dismay Harvard is considered the favorite in Saturday's important Adams Cup crew race against Navy and Penn on the Middies' Severn River course.
The Crimson will be seeking its second straight Adams Cup victory and its 20th in 36 regattas. The Quakers and Middies have each grabbed eight wins since the first race in 1933.
Parker, who would much rather see his crew tagged as a Philadelphia Phillie underdog, will put his three undefeated crews on the water against three equally as unbeaten squads. By virtue of a record of more convincing margins over common opponents the Crimson has been installed as the pre-race consensus pick by crew experts and Penn coach Ted Nash and Navy mentor Carl Ullrich.
But as Ullrich warns, "messin' around with relative margins of victories is like playin' Russian roulette. We're a much better crew than we were at this time last year," Ullrich said. "We only lost one oarsman to graduation from last season and since a narrow loss to Washington this April in San Diego, we've been untouched."
"So far this season no one has challenged us but our margins of victory have been less than either of the other crews," he added.
The only common foe of the three has been Princeton. The Crimson crushed the Tigers by over five lengths, while the Quakers dumped Princeton by four lengths and Navy won by just over a length.
"Last year I made the mistake of peaking for Princeton who we hadn't beaten in ten years," Ullrich said. "This year I'm bringing them around slowly. Most experts pick the outcome Harvard one, Penn two and Navy three. But let me assure you that's not how I'm picking 'em. We're a dark horse but we're a very racy crew--we race to win."
Both crews are going to be tough to beat, coach Parker said last night. "It's going to be a very rough race, you know the last time we went down there [Navy] they were very unkind to us [Navy won the Cup in 1971]."
Change of Position
Coach Parker will use the same boating as he did last week in the victory over Princeton. One change for the Middies is the change of position for two-year varsity stroke Chuck Munns who has moved to six and has been replaced by junior Bob Stumpf.
Munns has a kidney disorder; in fact, he will have one of his removed this summer. At the beginning of the season it was doubtful whether he would row but he has proved healthy enough and powerful enough to hold down the six seat.
In the second varsity race both Penn and Navy have been whipping their rivals by huge margins as has the Crimson J.V. In fact, the Middie eight has been closely challenging Ullrich's varsity during practices.
In the freshman race, it appears Penn may give Harvard its toughest competition and in fact, the Quakers are possibly one of the strongest first-year eights to come out of Philadelphia in quite some time. The Yardlings will stay with Penn but will have their hands full trying to remain undefeated.