While the sun's rays glinted off the Charles River and the Biglin Bowl, a shadow of frustration hung over Newell Boathouse, as the Harvard varsity lightweight crew finished just .2 seconds behind MIT Saturday.
In 6:41.1, the Engineers dissolved 16 years of Crimson supremacy in the 2000-meter race, while Harvard followed closely at 6:41.3, dropping its season record to an unheard-of 0-2, and Dartmouth lagged behind in 6:46.
After falling behind about six seats at the halfway point, the Crimson team began to move on MIT when coxswain Greg Soghikian called for a power 20.
Nicks Off the Iceberg
Then, at the 1500-meter mark, stroke Courty Gates upped the cadence from 33 to 35, bringing the shell to within one and one-half seats of MIT with about 20 strokes left in the race.
However, as Harvard headed into its sprint, the bowman missed the coxswain's signals when static from an electronic failure in the "coxbox" drowned Soghikian's voice.
We normally take the cadence up to 39 at the end, but we didn't go above 35," Soghikian said. "We had a strong finish, but it wasn't good."
Despite the communication problem, coach Peter Raymond said he did not consider losing to MIT a fluke, especially because the aggressive Engineers lost to Yale's defending Eastern Sprints championship team by a mere .2 seconds last week.
Although this race marked the first time in recent history that a Harvard varsity lightweight crew has lost two contests in the regular season, several bright spots pierced through the gloom as the J.V. and freshman boats all triumphed.
The J.V. squad never received a challenge, as it pushed into open water by the settle and stayed there to cruise in in 6:33.2. Dartmouth finished 16.7 seconds behind, while MIT floundered a full 20 seconds off.
The first freshman boat also set a strong pace at the start, taking a half-boat lead at the settle. At the 750 mark, coxswain T. Parker Gallagher cried for a power ten, which put the Crimson in clear water and out of the reach of Dartmouth--which finished two and one-half boats behind the winning 6:54
Only three seconds off the first freshman boat's pace, the second freshman crew won its race in 6:57.9, besting the field by ten seconds.
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