The Harvard heavyweight crew team and the Boston Celtics seem to have a lot in common.
Both have dominated their respective sports.
Both own unparallelled traditions.
And recently, both have seen their success slipping away.
Although it would be premature to write off the Crimson for the season, Sunday's third-place finish in the 46th annual Eastern Sprints in Worcester extended the Crimson's winless streak to three and broke the team's three-year reign as Sprints champion.
Top-seeded Pennsylvania, which beat Harvard two weeks ago, took the Sprints title in a record time of 5:36. Northeastern, which defeated the Crimson last week, finished second in 5:38 while Harvard remained true to its third seed and finished behind the Huskies in 5:42.
"We expected to win," said Crimson coxswain Travis Metz. "If you had asked me at the starting line who was going to win, I would have said that we were. We're definitely frustrated at not being able to put it together the last three weeks."
Northeastern took the early lead on Lake Quinsigamond, but Harvard and the Quakers remained close. At the 800-meter mark of the 2000-meter race, Penn made its move and distanced itself from the pack. Harvard and N.U. picked up their paces, as well, while Ivy competitors Brown, Princeton and Cornell fell back.
Neither the Crimson nor the Huskies could gain on Penn, and the Quakers expanded their lead. At the 1500-meter mark, Penn had opened up a half-length lead over Northeastern, and Harvard fell off the pace.
"We've rededicated ourselves to finding something that might make us faster," Metz said. "In '87, the varsity lost at Sprints and won the national title. We'd like to be able to do the same thing. It'll be an exciting challenge."
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