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It’s one thing to win at home—and quite another to take it to your opponent on its home course.
As impressive as the Harvard lightweights were at the Head of the Charles, they were even more so at yesterday’s Princeton Chase at Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J., where Harvard took first in both the varsity eight and varsity four events.
“The fours race is always tough,” junior Erich Schultze said. “It’s really something you have to gear up for.”
And no one did a better job of that than Schultze and the Crimson’s top four, which won the fours event by over nine seconds.
The winning lineup consisted of junior Matt O’Leary in stroke, junior Alex Newell in three, senior Tim Moore in two, Schultze in bow, and sophomore coxswain Shane Bouchard. O’Leary and Schultze were both in Harvard’s 2010 A four, which won the race a year ago today.
“Last year we had a really good run with Will Newell [’11],” Schultze noted. “This year we had his little brother.”
But had the Crimson’s top four decided to take the afternoon off, Harvard still would have posted one of the top results of the day.
The Crimson’s second four placed fourth overall, behind only its own A boat and the top fours from the Tigers and Georgetown.
“Our first and second four results are unbelievable,” Schultze said. “It’s just such a good sign for us. That was really, really, really exciting.”
Sophomore Michael Wales stroked Harvard’s second four, and juniors Michael Paresky, Nick Gates, and Stu Taylor rowed in the three, two, and bow seats. Junior Alex Saal was the boat’s coxswain.
“I think it worked real, real well,” Wales said. “We just decided to get after it.”
“We set into a rhythm really easily,” Paresky added.
The Crimson’s D four finished 27th of 41, a little less than five seconds ahead of its C boat, which placed 29th. A year ago, Harvard’s third and fourth boats placed fifth and ninth, respectively.
On the Charles, the Crimson had a distinct home course advantage, having had much more practice on the Head’s tricky turns, particularly the famed Weeks and Eliot turns.
This weekend, on a straighter Lake Carnegie three-miler, with one big turn, any edge belonged to Princeton.
But a relative lack of familiarity didn’t stop senior coxswain Angela Chang from steering Harvard’s first varsity eight to victory.
“Angela did great,” said Schultze, who rowed in the three seat. “For the second year in a row, she’s really nailed this course.”
In both the 2010 and 2011 Chases, the Crimson’s top eight has relied on a strong first half to its race.
“We had a really good start, a really good first half,” Schultze said of this year’s race. “We kind of held onto it in the second half.”
Last year, the Tigers posted a strong enough second half of the race to secure a win, but this year Harvard was able to hold on for a victory of nearly seven seconds.
“We were looking to gain some speed on last weekend,” said captain and two seat Tom Nesel. “The margin wasn’t any larger, so we’re going to keep working.”
The Crimson’s 2V took 15th overall and fifth among 2V crews.
“The 2V was working hard on improving,” Nesel said.
“We’d been switching up lineups,” added Paresky, who rowed in the six seat of the boat. “It was a pretty solid row. We had a good time out there.”
While Harvard took the varsity events, the home team had its way in the freshmen eight race, which featured both heavyweight and lightweight entries.
Princeton’s top heavyweight freshman eight won the race by over nine seconds, while the Tigers’ lightweight 1F finished second of all crews and first among lightweight competitors.
The Crimson’s top eight, meanwhile, took seventh overall and fourth among lightweight crews.
“We’re just hoping to keep improving,” freshman coach Linda Muri noted.
Meanwhile, Harvard’s second boat finished first among lightweight 2Fs and 19th overall.
The Crimson 2F also beat the top lightweight entries from Dartmouth and Cornell and finished ahead of top heavyweight boats from the Hoyas, Holy Cross, and Rutgers.
“I was really pleased with our B boat,” Muri said.
Harvard’s third boat, meanwhile, placed second among lightweight 3Fs and finished a little over 12 seconds behind Delaware’s lightweight 3F.
“I was very pleased with the depth I see on the team,” Muri said.
—Staff writer Christina C. McClintock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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