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With the leaves turning and minor friends about to descend upon freshman dorms and upperclass houses for the weekend, the 38th annual Head of the Charles River Regatta, is set to commence tomorrow morning.
Every year the Head of the Charles brings over a quarter of a million spectators to cheer on the hundreds of boats. Due to this large influx of people in and around the University, the administration is taking large measures to upgrade security around the undergraduate housing.
“For the past five years or so there has been an overall security plan for Head of the Charles, coordinated by my office and HUPD,” Associate Dean of the College David P. Illingworth ’71 wrote in an e-mail.
“The Yard is locked at 6 p.m. on Friday and does not open until Sunday morning. Entry into the Yard is by Harvard ID only. There are also security plans for each of the Houses and other areas of the campus.”
Despite the heightened security codes this weekend, many students are looking forward to the regatta’s activities, anxious to witness a sport that spectators rarely get a chance to cheer along the sidelines.
‘I’ve never been to [the Head of the Charles],” freshman William Quasha said. “But a bunch of my friends row crew, and they say its a really good time.”
Harvard and Radcliffe rowers also look forward to this weekend, as it proffers an opportunity to showcase their talents to both classmates and the general public.
“It’s always an exiting weekend and a great way to kick off the season,” Radcliffe lightweight captain Katie Greenzang said.
The Harvard and Radcliffe crew teams look to improve upon last year’s mediocre performance at the regatta. Though the teams had many moments of glory—most notably the Harvard heavyweights placed third behind two national teams in the Championship Eight—there were also disappointing moments.
Both Harvard and Radcliffe saw some less than perfect performances last year. The second Harvard lightweight boat finished 20th out of 20 boats and the first Radcliffe heavyweight boat finished in 37th place in the Championship Eight event after suffering a one-minute penalty.
But despite the setbacks and large number of injuries in last year’s regatta, the Crimson and the Black and White look to follow the Harvard heavyweight example from last fall.
“We’ve trained hard and effectively,” senior lightweight Chris Angell said. “We’ve got a bunch of good boats.”
The Harvard crew teams will enter 11 boats in this year’s Head of the Charles—six heavyweights and five lightweights.
The heavyweights have entered two boats in the Championship Eight, one in both the Championship Four and Club Eight, and a freshman boat in both the Youth Eight and the Collegiate Eight. While most of the teams will be racing under the title of Harvard University or the Charles River Rowing Association, the Championship Four boat will be racing as the Crabtree Rowing Club.
The Crimson lightweights are racing one boat each for the Lightweight Eight, the Collegiate Eight and the Youth Eight. They have also entered two boats in the Lightweight Four event, under the names Nonesuch Oar and Paddle Club and the Warren Rowing Club.
The Black and White has entered five boats in the Head of the Charles this year. The lightweight team races baots in the Lightweight Eight and the Lightweight Four events. The heavyweights have three boats competing, two in the Championship Eight and a novice boat in the Youth Eight.
Both students, athletes and administrators hope the weekend will go off as smoothly as possible.
“We are expecting large crowds of people but, because of the extra security, we expect that the weekend will be orderly and reasonable,” Illingworth said. “Actually, the increased security for this event may be less of a disruption this year because all of us are more used to security in our day to day lives.”
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