This past weekend, the Radcliffe Lightweight and Heavyweight crew teams took to the water to challenge two of the nation’s top rowing teams—Georgetown and Brown.
The lightweight team raised its first trophy of the season, decisively blanking the Hoyas, but the heavyweight squad emerged from its dual season’s first regatta on a less auspicious note, losing to Brown.
NO. 4 RADCLIFFE LIGHTWEIGHTS VS. NO. 5 GEORGETOWN
Last season was a virtual tug-of-war on water for the then-No. 4 Radcliffe and then-No. 5 Georgetown women’s lightweight crews. After the Black and White prevailed at the Class of 2004 Cup, the Hoyas responded by robbing Radcliffe of a bronze medal at the EAWRC Sprints. But the Black and White had the final say of the season, closing out the IRA National Championships one position ahead of Georgetown.
Understandably, Radcliffe was careful not to overlook its opponent going into this past Saturday’s race against the Hoyas, in which the crews boasted the same rankings as a year ago. A victory on the water in this year’s Class of 2004 Cup would be key to setting the tone of competition between the two rivals for the remainder of the season.
The Black and White accomplished just that with a sweep of the Hoyas on the Charles, as both the first and second varsity eight improved to 2-0 on the season. The victory gave Radcliffe its first win against a ranked opponent this season.
At the outset of Saturday’s varsity eight race, the Hoyas matched the Black and White stroke-for-stroke, building an early lead. But Radcliffe eventually established its rhythm on the water, enabling it to come back to seize victory with a 7:24.5 finish. Georgetown clocked in five seconds behind at 7:29.9.
“We worked really hard all winter, and it was nice to come into the spring season and see that work pay off,” said junior 1V rower Lizzy Bates.
The 2V squad pulled off a more decisive victory, cruising steadily along the open water to cross the finish line at 7:46.7—nearly 11 seconds ahead of the Hoyas.
Strong performances from both boats at headwind gave Radcliffe its second consecutive Class of 2004 Cup win and its fourth overall in the Cup’s history. The Cup was established by a donation from the seniors in the class of 2004 at both Harvard and Georgetown.
“We really respect Georgetown, and we regard ourselves as being really close to them,” Radcliffe coach Heather Cartwright said. “Both programs knew how much work each had to do to win. The race was a good barometer to see that we have put in some solid work throughout the winter.”
NO. 19 RADCLIFFE HEAVYWEIGHTS VS. NO. 5 BROWN
The sunny Saturday morning skies did not bode as well for No. 19 Radcliffe heavyweight crew, as the Black and White surrendered four of five races to No. 5 Brown (3-1) on the Seekonk River.
Despite an initially close contest between the varsity eight teams, the Bears outlasted the Black and White for the rest of the race, crossing the finish line at 6:50.2, well ahead of Radcliffe’s 7:05.5.
The Black and White also dropped races in the second and third varsity eight, with times of 7:19.6 and 7:52.3, respectively. In the Varsity Four B/C race, the Radcliffe B team finished behind both Brown’s B and C teams, coming in at 8:42.4.
The regatta indicated that the Black and White has what it takes to compete among the nation’s best heavyweight teams.
The Radcliffe Varsity Four A team—comprised of junior coxswain Rachel Rauh, senior Jennie Peterson, freshman Jess Mealia, sophomore Kirsten Van Fossen, and freshman Scout Moran—posted the sole victory, edging out Brown by exactly one second at 7:56.1.
“[Four A] got called back to the starting line,” Radcliffe co-captain Christine Baugh said. “Their second start off breakage was actually not as good as the first, so they really had to bite into it. In that race, it was all about willpower. They never once gave up, and it really showed at the end.”
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