Eliot House came back with three of the four crew races yesterday morning for the second straight year, but boats from Kirkland and Dunster served warning that E-House's domination of intramural crew may soon come to an end.
Kirkland foiled Eliot's chance for a four-race sweep with a convincing nine-second victory in the women's Brace as the K-House women defended their second-division crown.
The A races, though, turned into "two-boat-start-to-finish-who's-got-the-guts" wars between Eliot and Dunster in the men's division and Eliot and Kirkland on the women's side.
The last ten strokes decided the men's race as the Funsters traded seats with the Eliphants all the way down the river.
Dunster's strong performance was no surprise, since the Funsters turned in the fastest qualifying time of last Tuesday's time trials.
"We expected the race to be tough, but not that tough." Eliot House stroker Howard Johnson said. "We pulled it off with a great sprint at the end. It was a gnarly race, but Eliot reigned supreme."
In the women's A race. Eliot, which usually just has to wake up to win, got an unexpected challenge from the women of K-House.
The race was a virtual replica of the men's contest as both boats fought it out from start to finish, before experienced Eliot prevailed again by only one second.
"We'd be up a seat, then they'd be up a seat." Kirkland stroke Wendy Sonnebend said. "In the last five seconds, though, they got it together and pulled ahead."
On the Beside, Eliot snubbed challenges from Kirkland and Dunster, winning the men's division by five seconds in 2:57, while the Kirkland women notched the only open water win of the day.
Kirkland got a poor start in the women's race, but "once we got going well we just kept on going." K-House stroker Gwen Harper said.
The slow start might spring from boat members' fatigue after Monday night's senior dinner. Harper said, but "the crowd helped us a lot. Master and Mrs. Vogt were there and everybody made lots of noise. It got us going."
In the Straus Cup competition, Eliot strengthened its bid for the intramural title, tallying 340 points, while Kirkland and Winthrop notched 300 and 150, respectively.
The wins give the Eliphants a strong advantage going into the end of the year, although softball, hockey, and track results have yet to be tallied.