Tough Conditons and Competition Trouble Radcliffe

Rowing into Dangerous Territory
Danielle L Lussi

No. 4 Radcliffe had a mixed weekend, ceding the Class of 2010 Invitational Cup to the Stanford Cardinal and finishing in second in the O’Leary Cup, seven seconds behind the Big Green.

After facing a stern test in No. 5 Georgetown last week, the No. 4 Radcliffe lightweights went up against stiff competition once again this weekend against No. 7 Buffalo and defending women’s lightweight national champions No. 2 Stanford. In heavyweight competition, Radcliffe faced off against its most diverse group of competitors so far this season in the Charles River Challenge.


Undefeated up to this point, the Black and White lightweight first varsity eight finally met its match in the Cardinal. Radcliffe and Stanford were both aware that a victory on the water and the capture of the Class of 2010 Invitational Cup would be key to setting the tone of competition between the two perennial national title contenders for the rest of the season.

The chilly Saturday morning was rife with strong tailwinds that provided challenging conditions for all the crews on the Charles.

Because of the conditions, the race was moved from the basin to the Powerhouse Stretch, with the teams racing 1,500 meters instead of 2,000.


“It was just a really challenging weekend,” lightweight co-captain Leah Schwartz said. “There was just a lot of wind in both our races to the point where they had to be moved [in location].”

After a demanding day, the Black and White lightweights came up short against the Cardinal and ceded control of the Cup to Stanford once again. The loss gave the Radcliffe lightweights their first loss of the season.

At the outset of Saturday’s varsity eight race, the Black and White matched the Cardinal stroke for stroke, racing evenly with Stanford as both crews approached the 500-meter mark. But the Cardinal eventually established its brutally efficient rhythm on the water, enabling it to surge ahead and seize victory with a 4:42.4 finish. Radcliffe clocked in six seconds behind at 4:48.4

The Black and White lightweight second varsity eight defeated its Stanford counterpart with a 4:55.0 finish. The Cardinal would clock in nearly five seconds behind in 4:59.8.

The second day of competition brought about a change in fortunes for the Black and White. Although the conditions on the Charles still remained quite treacherous, with a gusting headwind and whitecaps, the Radcliffe crews proved to be up to the test, as the varsity eight and the Black and White second varsity both finished ahead of No. 7 Buffalo Sunday morning on the Charles River Basin.

In this race, both of the Radcliffe Lightweight crews started together on the line against the solitary Bulls crew. The Radcliffe varsity crew got off the line very quickly and led throughout the race, while the Black and White second varsity initially trailed the Bulls but eventually passed Buffalo 900 meters into the race.

At the conclusion of the race, the Radcliffe varsity eight emerged victorious with a time of 8:18.7, the second varsity eight finished in second in a time of 8:34.7, and the Bulls came in 11.2 seconds behind the second Varsity eight in 8:34.7.


At the Charles River Challenge this past weekend, the Black and White was pitted against regional opponents Dartmouth, Northeastern, and Syracuse, along with out-of-region guests No. 10 Ohio State and Minnesota.

On Saturday, despite messy conditions on the Charles that looked to derail the Black and White crews, the Radcliffe varsity eight rallied from two boat-stopping crabs—or jammed oars—to finish in second place, ahead of the Gophers and the Orange in a time of 6:45.3. The Big Green finished a little under seven seconds ahead of the Black and White to win the race and the O’Leary Cup for the third time.