W. Heavies Outpace B.U., MIT

The Radcliffe varsity and lightweight crews dominated their competition Saturday, building important momentum for Eastern Sprints in two weeks.

With the win, the varsity crew is in excellent position to qualify as a team for nationals in Sacramento, Calif., in three weeks. While not an NCAA sport, lightweight crew has its own national tournament. Both teams have high hopes B.U.  6:31.6 RADCLIFFE (Hvy)  6:30.5 BROWN  7:11.8 RADCLIFFE (Lgt)  6:53.2 for nationals.

The first varsity eight (7-2) set a new schoolrecord of 6:30.5, edging out B.U. (2-4) at 6:31.6.

"B.U. was very persistent, I give them creditfor that," junior Anne Browning said. "This was avery emotional race for them. For us it was timeto get down to business and get it done."

Based on results versus common opponents,Radcliffe was the favored boat. However, resultsare only part of the story in this rivalry.

"We knew they'd be gunning for us," captainKate Tomford said. "It's always a close race."


"This is our Harvard-Yale," Browning said."It's their chance to prove themselves and get agood seeding."

B.U. began its final sprint at approximately750 meters, earlier than usual, and gained groundon Radcliffe in the final stretch.

"They were fast off the line and took someseats from us in the last sprint," Tomford said."But we responded and caught back up."

In the quest to qualify as a team, however, thesecond Radcliffe varsity boat was also crucial tothe day's result. The JV boats count as much asthe varsity.

B.U.'s second boat had posted an impressiveresult against the first Wisconsin boat earlierthis season, but Radcliffe dominated the day,winning by a length and a half.

"The second varsity was a huge win for us,"Tomford said. "It will definitely contribute toour ranking."

"We were expecting it to be closer," said MaymeHostetter, the No. 6 seat on the second varsity."We moved out on them at the 1000, and it feltreally good. Our goal was to put together a fastrace."

With this win, Radcliffe solidifies its No. 2ranking in the New England Regional Rankings,which should be good enough to qualify as a teamfor nationals. Last year, Radcliffe qualified as ateam for the first time in program history.

"Nothing is set in stone," Tomford said."Sprints are a big factor."

Eastern Sprints will pit the top 16 teams fromthe Northeast as well as powerhouses likeVirginia.

Radcliffe Lightweights

Equally dominant on the river Saturday was thelightweight crew. The lights blew a young Browncrew off the water by two lengths, posting a6:53.2 to the Bear's 7:11.8.

"Brown is a developing program, and we'd beatenthem before," senior Shana McCormick said. "Weused it as a way to get ready for sprints."

Eastern Sprints will be the last tune-up forthe lightweight crew before it heading to NewJersey for its unofficial national tournament.Radcliffe won the title in 1997 and placed secondlast year.

"We've been building all season, and we'relooking to take it back," McCormick said.

Saturday's races also marked the last homecompetition for the Radcliffe seniors, many ofwhom have rowed in the same boats together forfour years.

In addition to Tomford and McCormick, DianeMarks, Mame Donahue, Rebecca Marks, Sarah DeMersand Carlin Senter all made their final homeappearance.

"These seniors are the most intense, toughpeople I know," Browning said. "Their level ofintensity and determination cannot be replaced.I'll really miss racing with them."

The rowers also expressed strong emotions aboutthe recent merger of Radcliffe and Harvardcolleges. The crews were overwhelmingly in favorof keeping the Radcliffe name and colors.

"We're definitely not changing our name,"Tomford said. "All our competitors know us asRadcliffe."

"We are Radcliffe crew," Browning said. "Ican't conceive of myself as a Harvard rower."

"Radcliffe has a great tradition, and there'sno reason to change that," McCormick said."Especially for sports, it's important to honorthat tradition and the alumni. I love the blackand white."

Regardless of their institutional affiliation,the Radcliffe crews are peaking at the right time.Both teams are ready and confident for theirnational championship pursuits.

"Anything's possible for this team,' Hostettersaid. It just depends how hard we pull that day.

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