They say it is harder to win a second national championship than it is to win the first.
Before the Los Angeles Lakers captured the NBA crown last week, no professional baseball, basketball or football team had repeated as champs in over a decade. Repeating as champions in collegiate sports is almost as difficult.
But Harvard crew Coach Harry Parker has finally accomplished that difficult feat. The 26-year coach's top heavyweight boat defeated Northeastern for the national title in the Cincinnati Regatta on June 11.
The victory marked the first time that the Crimson has won back-to-back championship regattas. Harvard has now claimed four of the seven Cincinnati Regattas, nabbing the crown in 1983, 1985 and 1987.
The Crimson, seeded first in the Regatta, cruised over the 2000-meter course on Harsha Lake in Bantam, Ohio, in 5:36.39, finishing more than a full second ahead of the second-seeded Huskies.
Harvard had defeated Northeastern twice before this season--once in a dual race May 7 on the Charles River, and again on May 15 in the Eastern Sprints on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester. But the Huskies had won the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship and were expected to give the Crimson a close race.
The Huskies stayed close to Harvard in the early going, but the Crimson started to pull away in the middle 1000 meters.
The championship heavyweight crew consisted of senior bowman Dan Grout, junior Donald Fawcett, senior Steve Wayne, sophomore Jon Bernstein, sophomore Peter Sharis, junior John Rusher, junior Philipp Schuller, junior stroke John Amory and senior coxswain Jim Crick.
The win completed an excellent season for Parker's crew. Harvard posted a 7-1 mark, its lone defeat coming in a race with Navy and Pennsylvania on the very choppy Severn River in Annapolis, Md. The heavies also claimed first place at the Eastern Sprints.
Unable to match the success of its heavier counterpart, the Harvard lightweight crew placed second behind top-seeded Princeton in the national championship Empire State Regatta on the Hudson River in Albany, N.Y. It was the second straight year that the lights were runners-up for the national title.
The 3-1 Crimson defeated the Tigers at the Sprints, May 15 after losing to them in a tri-meet with Yale earlier in the season. In the closely-contested deciding race, the two crews were even with just 300 meters to go before Princeton pulled away to win by more than 1 1/2 seconds.
The lights may have another shot at the Princeton eight when both squads head off to the prestigious Henley Regatta on the Thames River in England July 9 and 10. In the single-elimination tournament the Crimson will compete against hundreds of college, national and club crews from the United States and Europe.
Henley is considered the most prestigious regatta in the world.