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It would be the easy way out (for a reporter who spends more time at Charlie's Kitchen than along the banks of the river of the same name) to describe the Radcliffe heavyweight crew squad's eight-second loss to a vastly improved Princeton squad with the cliche "what a difference a year makes."
After all, the 1977 edition of the 'Cliffe heavies handed the Tigers an eight-second drubbing of their own exactly a year ago on Lake Carnegie. It would be easy for the casual observer to say that first-year coach Carrie Graves's squad just doesn't stack up to previous units. It would be wrong and naive.
"This is actually the strongest boat I've been in," captain Ruth Colker, a three year heavy veteran, said. "Sure, we have to be more efficient as a unit and concentrate even more intensely," she added, "but we have an extremely talented squad."
Pass The Tartar Sauce
Radcliffe jumped out to a three-seat lead and proceeded to match stroke for stroke over the first 1000 meters in the gusty Cambridge lane headwind. But over the final 500 meters, the 'Cliffe (who voted to retain the Radcliffe logo and name in keeping with tradition while other squads adopted the "Harvard women's" catch-all) caught a couple of devastating 'crabs' in the choppy surf.
Princeton, which has upgraded its rowing program with a new coach and full varsity status, took advantage of the Crimson's lapse to forge ahead and cruise across the finish line, going away in a time of 5:48 over the 1500-meter course. Radcliffe glided across in 5:56, while Cornell, enjoying the scenery and crisp sea air, finished last (well, let's be charitable and say "third") in 6:29.
Meggy And The Roughriders
"We were rowing rough," cox Meg Ziegler said. "The boat wasn't as smooth and together as it could have been. There's a lot of work to be done but we've got a month (before the Eastern Sprints) to do it."
Radcliffe's junior varsity also bowed to its counterpart from Tiger land by 11 seconds, with Cornell once again holding up the rear. "The power just wasn't there," J.V. cox Liz Friese commented. "Princeton beat us off the start, stayed smooth, and kept on moving."
Princeton's freshman eight made it a clean sweep, roaring (or is it rowing?) to a 28-second win over Cornell. Radcliffe's rookie entry finished one tick behind the women from Ithaca.
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