The Radcliffe varsity heavyweight crew faces another strong challenge to its title as the premier women's crew in the country today, taking on MIT and Boston University in the Charles River Basin. The race is scheduled for about 12:15.
Although MIT, a bit of an unknown quantity, could surprise with a good showing, the focus of the contest will be on the head-to-head battle between Radcliffe and B.U. The race shapes up as a real, honest-to-goodness grudge match between the two schools--each dislikes the other fiercely.
The Terriers started up the rivalry by chanting "Go Yale" from the B.U. launches during the Radcliffe-Yale race earlier in the season, and then repeating their anti-Radcliffe antics in the Princeton race last week.
"It may have been a bit unethical," said B.U. coach Dan Bakinowski. But I think it was a case of us simply rooting for the underdogs."
In any event, the Radcliffe rowers haven't forgotten, and they will be out to put a muzzle on the Terriers' bark.
"We want to win this race badly, to put them in their place," growled Radcliffe coxswain Nancy Hadley.
In its only race this year, B.U. lost to Princeton by three seconds while beating Pennsylvania, Barnard and Notre Dame. In that race, however, the Terrier bowman caught her oar on one of the buoys that line the Princeton course, and it took her five strokes to get back into the race.
Neck and Neck
"We were neck and neck with Princeton, and the caught oar let them pull away," Bakinowski said.
Radcliffe, on the other hand, is coming off an impressive win against Princeton last week. After putting his team through seven weeks of intensive, grueling seat racing, Radcliffe coach John Baker has finally determined his varsity eight. Alison Hill is at stroke, Allison Hall at seven, Wikki Royden at six, Jenny Getsinger at five, Connie Cervilla at four, Judy Ames at three, Marie Adams at two, and Katie Moss at the bow slot.
B.U. has also just completed its seat racing, and Bakinowski indicated he will make a number of changes from last week in order to get a smoother, faster rowing boat.
There will be an additional sidelight to today's encounter. The race will mark the awarding of the first, annual Burger King Women's Invitational Regatta Trophy to the victor, with individual medals going to the oarswomen.
It may not have the prestige of the Sexton Cup (awarded since 1852 to the winner of the Harvard-Yale four-mile race) but, oh well, women's crew has to start somewhere, and it may as well begin with a "whopper" of a trophy.