Color this race black and blue--from start to finish.
In every sense, Saturday morning will be a bruising affair as Radcliffe and Yale hook up in a heavyweight showdown that could be the most exciting race the Charles has seen in quite some time.
The Eli women motor into Cambridge with a contingent of bruisers that deserves the descriptions it has earned as "awesome" and "devastating."
While the Radcliffe boat averages 148 pounds with mixed varsity tenures. Yale carries a whopping 160-lb. average in a boat that includes seven well-seasoned seniors.
But varsity stroke Cynthia Strong said yesterday Yale was "within reach." She explained, "Last year we tended to let ourselves get scrambled. This year our heads are very together. I think we can pull this upset."
An upset, though, will require an outstanding effort since Yale enters the race with an undefeated record. The New Haven eight edged spunky Dartmouth two weeks ago and took Princeton by about the same margin that Radcliffe beat the Tigers by on April 14.
The Green Machine
Though Radcliffe dropped its race last week to the Big Green women, the loss--by the narrowest of half-seat margins--does not really represent a weakness in the 'Cliffe machine. The 2-1 women will make no excuses for the loss, but all admit that the team has been psyching up for Yale for the past two weeks and in the process. Dartmouth was overlooked. Hence, the unexpected defeat.
With Radcliffe settling into a new shell, working relatively new oars with more confidence and mastery than had been seen in the Dartmouth race, using a new, quick start to help counter the strong Eli opening blast and enjoying a bit of homecourse psychological advantage, the stage is set for an explosion at Weld.
Coach Carrie Graves is characteristically reserved, cox Lizellen LaFollette is typically optimistic, and the general feeling among the oarswomen is something approximating pre-atomic detonation.
Many observers predict today's race could be a preview of the title battle in the upcoming Eastern Sprints (May 1-2 New London, Conn.) Certainly Radcliffe and Yale represent the best of the women's heavyweights. And this just may be the first time in three years that Radcliffe has a chance to catch a Bulldog by the tail.
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After a week's vacation, Peter Huntsman's lightweight women will return to action this week, taking a 1-0 record against Smith. J.V. and varsity action begins at 9 a.m. on the Charles.
Women's heavyweight crew vs. Yale in the Charles River.
Freshmen: 10:15 a.m.
Junior varsity: 11:00 a.m.
Varsity: 11:45 a.m.
Women's lightweight crew vs. Smith in the Charles River.
Junior varsity: 9:00 a.m.
Varsity: 12:15 a.m.