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Northeastern Nips W. Crew by a Hair

By W. STEPHEN Venable

Things just haven't gone as planned for the Radcliffe heavyweight crew this year.

No matter how hard or how well they row, their effort always seems to fall just short of their opponent's.

Saturday was no exception.

The Black and White put together a solid race--marked by a tremendous sprint over the course's final 400 meters--but still could not overcome Northeastern Saturday morning.

The Radcliffe crew suffered through yet another day of sub par weather, rowing under the gloomy Cambridge skies and a rising tailwind.

"The tailwind is a really deceiving weather condition," senior Jamie Flatt said. "It makes you think you should be flying, but you really aren't."

The wind also made the water choppy, changing the rowers' strokes and the overall feel of the boat.

"The wind was not the reason we lost," Flatt said. "But it was definitely a factor."

The crew began with a good start, as it usually does, and jumped out to a four seat lead as the boats passed the course's 500-meter mark.

The lead was short-lived, however.

The Husky crew pulled even with the 'Cliffies at the 1000-meter mark and pushed ahead during the third 500 meters.

"They just moved through us at the third 500," Flatt said. "We had a bad middle thousand of the race."

The Black and White, suffering again from its traditional mid-race troubles, entered the final 500 meters trailing by a full boat-length.

Then came the sprint.

Radcliffe began the usual 200-300 meter dash to the finish line at the 1600-meter mark--a full 100 meters early.

"Everyone just got angry," Flatt said. "We just all hauled it in."

The Black and White was in sync and gaining ground quickly on the Husky boat as the crews approached the finish line.

The effort was, however, just a little bit too late. Northeastern crossed the finish line ahead of Radcliffe by a mere three-tenths of a second.

"Another five strokes and we would have had them," Flatt said. "It was an amazing sprint. We were all together, it's a great feeling when we win."

But as has been too often the case this season, a win was not in the cards for the Black and White.

Radcliffe finished up its dual meet season with just one victory, a much needed win last Saturday against Boston University.

The Black and White has set itself up as a rather large underdog heading into the women's Eastern Sprints this weekend at Lake Waramug in New Preston, Conn.

What better place is there for the 'Cliffies to be in, though? Radcliffe enters the Sprints with few expectations upon it, and something to prove not only to the rest of the rowing world, but to itself.

"We really haven't shown how strong a team we have this year," Flatt said. "We are pretty confident we can come back next week and beat Northeastern and a lot of the other teams we lost to this year."

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