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What a difference a second makes.
After jumping out to an early lead, the defending champion men's lightweight crew finished fourth at this weekend's Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships in Camden, N.J., losing by just 1.05 seconds.
Harvard (7-1 in dual meets) lost its lead in the final 200 meters of the race and finished with a time of 5:51.44.
At one point in the race, Harvard held a lead of almost a length. But a pack of challengers, led by Yale, surged ahead in the last stages of the contest.
The Bulldogs ended up taking the prize with a 5:50.39 mark. Princeton and Dartmouth came in second and third at 5:50.54 and 5:50.99.
For the second year in a row, the Radcliffe lightweight crew (2-3) came in fourth, this time with a time of 7:24.26. Princeton took first in 7:03.52. Villanova was second at 7:07. 49 and Virginia was third at 7:12.36.
With the end of the meet, both teams concluded their season.
After a 9-2 season, the most wins for Radcliffe since 1989, head coach Liz O'Leary said the team had hoped for a better showing.
"We came into the championships with high hopes and we're disappointed we didn't attain them," said Head Coach Liz O'Leary. "Our goal now is to return next year and perform better."
The first varsity heavyweight eight finished with a time of 6:58.6, while the team came in tenth overall.
In the petite final, Harvard had a three-seat lead on Ohio State through 1,500 meters for eleventh place, but the Black-and White ceded that lead over the final 500 meters.
Brown won both the team competition and the varsity race, cruising past second-place Washington for a 6:37.2.
Radcliffe picked up its only single-race victory in the varsity four petite final, powering past Ohio State to win in 7:07.7.
The Black-and-White was neck-and-neck with Michigan and Ohio State through the first 750 meters.
Through 1,000 meters, the race was still tight, and Radcliffe began picking up a lead by the 1,100 mark.
Harvard, with a 3-1 dual meet record this year and a fourth-place showing at the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Sprints Championship in May, will look to avenge last year's loss to Yale.
Harvard leads the all-time series, 81-53.
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