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To say that this was a big weekend for Harvard and Radcliffe crew would be an understatement. Every one of the Crimson's top varsity crews rowed to victory on Saturday.
The Harvard heavyweights defeated Penn and Navy, while the lightweights crew held off Princeton and Yale. Radcliffe's heavies barely edged Yale, but the lights had an easier time with Virginia.
The Crimson's first varsity heavyweight boat (3-2) fought the wind, rough water and a late charge from Penn to hold onto the victory by 1.8 seconds with a time of 5:55.34. Navy finished 7.5 seconds behind Harvard, which brought the Adams Cup back to Cambridge after a two-year stay in Annapolis.
"This was a big win for us," senior Doug Goodman said. "It should give us momentum leading into our race with Northeastern [this weekend] and Eastern Sprints [on May 11]."
All three boats came off the line evenly, with Penn matching Harvard through the first portion of the race. By the 750-meter mark, the Crimson had gained a half-length lead, which it slowly pushed out to three-fourths of a length with 1,500 meters gone.
Then, with only 500 meters left, the Quakers made their move and began to inch back on the Crimson. But as the three boats sprinted to the finish, Harvard was able to hold off the charging Penn eight by a half-length at the line.
"The boat felt pretty good," Goodman said. "We've been improving each week, and it feels like we're starting to come together."
The second varsity boat was unable to surpass the Quakers and the Midshipmen, finishing five seconds behind the winning Penn boat and less than a second slower than Navy. The first freshman boat was able to defeat Navy, but it couldn't keep up with Penn, which won easily by 10 seconds.
While the heavies chalked up a big win in Annapolis, the Harvard lightweights traveled to Yale for one of their biggest--and certainly closest--races of the year.
Harvard's first varsity crew (5-0) matched a late sprint by Princeton to defeat the Tigers by half a second. The Crimson's time of 5:28.1 was also four seconds faster than the host Elis.
In topping Yale, Harvard avenged its second-place finish to the Bulldogs in the San Diego Crew Classic earlier this spring.
The three crews were all in contention when they reached the 1,500-meter mark. As they began their sprints, Yale fell off, but Princeton and Harvard continued to battle.
The Crimson jumped out to a half-length lead as the cadence began to rise, but the Tigers refused to give in and quickly made up most of the margin. The two boats sprinted to the line, where Harvard edged Princeton in a photo finish.
Unfortunately for the Crimson, the second and third varsity boats and the two freshman boats were unable to catch the Bulldogs or the Tigers, as all four crews failed to notch a victory.
The Radcliffe heavyweight crew (4-4) was looking for its first victory over Yale since 1992 when it hosted the Elis last Saturday, and with a new line up the Crimson did just that.
Because of injuries, Radcliffe had to alter the lineup within its first varsity boat, but the Crimson were still able to end the Elis' streak. Radcliffe finished the 2,000-meter course in 7:11.0, comfortably holding on to a 2.8-second win.
The second varsity boat fell to the Elis, while the first novice boat (8-0) crushed Yale by almost 30 seconds.
The Radcliffe lightweight squad rounded out the weekend by continuing its dominance, as the defending national champions moved to 7-0 by defeating Virginia by more than seven seconds.
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