For the third straight year, the Radcliffe heavyweight crew team will square off against the top competition in the nation at the NCAA Championships.
Beginning today, on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J., the Black-and-White (9-2) will begin its quest to close the gap on favorite and top-ranked Brown, which Radcliffe lost to by six seconds two weeks ago at Eastern Sprints.
At 9:20, No. 4 Radcliffe's first varsity boat rows in its quarterfinal heat. The heat consists of Michigan, Wesleyan, No. 6 Virginia, Michigan State and Boston University, which the Black-and-White defeated in head-to-head competition.
Radcliffe's only dual losses on the season came against Brown and Princeton, boats that are in different heats this weekend. The Black-and-White did surpass the Tigers at Eastern Sprints by 2.6 seconds en route to a second-place finish, its highest finish at the sprints since winning the title in 1989.
If Radcliffe wins or takes second in that race, it moves onto a semifinal race tomorrow morning. If the Black-and-White fail to place in the top two of that heat, they will race in the repechage run tomorrow afternoon.
A win or second-place finish in the semifinals earns a berth in the grand finals on Sunday. A loss in the semis means a trip to the petite finals earlier that day.
The second varsity boat (8-3) races against Michigan State, Michigan, Brown and Washington in its semifinal tomorrow. The team fell to Brown during the year and did not face the other opponents in head-to-head competition.
The varsity four (5-4) will compete against B.U., Virginia, Brown and California. The boat lost to Brown and B.U. in meets, but did not face Virginia or California in duals.
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