WORCESTER--The Radcliffe varsity lightweights withstood a blistering last-minute sprint by Boston University to capture their first Eastern Sprints title yesterday on Lake Quinsigamond, Worcester.
The lights had opened up a full length lead by the 1100 meter mark, but there B.U. began to raise their cadence and close the gap. With every stroke B.U. moved closer, and it seemed as if they would blow by and retain the title they have held for the past three consecutive years.
"It was just awful," coxswain Susie Petersen said after the race. "They just kept coming and coming."
But at the finish Radcliffe still held a one-seat lead, though the winner was not clear until the official announcement minutes later. Williams was a distant third, ten seconds behind Radcliffe's 5:23.6, while Notre Dame was fourth in the seven-boat field.
"They got ahead and sat on it. They were just waiting for something to happen--and it did. But I'm very proud of them," coach Peter Huntsman said yesterday.
The J.V., entered in the same field, finished sixth, a scant three seconds out of third place and only one out of fourth.
"They were a little disappointed they didn't beat the Williams varsity, as they did last week. But I thought they rowed their best race of the season, and in a tough varsity field as well," Huntsman said.
Radcliffe's lightweight four was jumped at the start by Wellesley and Yale, but came on strong at the finish to place a solid third, nearly overtaking Yale.
Wellesley moved away at the finish to take the event in 5:51, while Yale crossed the line in 5:57.8 and Radcliffe in 5:59.8.
"They rowed very well, the hardest I've seen them go for that long," Huntsman said.