Men's Lightweight Varsity Eight, Second Four Earn Wins at Princeton 3-Mile Chase

For the second year in a row, the Harvard men’s lightweights swept past the field for wins in the varsity eights and fours races at Sunday’s Princeton 3-Mile Chase at Lake Carnegie.

Just a week after its triumph at the Head of the Charles, the first varsity eight finished at the top of the pack, edging Yale by just under two seconds. Meanwhile, the second four surprised the competition with a six-second margin win over the Bulldogs’ first four.

With senior Austin Meyer in stroke, junior Michael Wales in three, senior Stuart Taylor in two, sophomore Andrew Campbell in bow, and senior Alex Saal as coxswain, the winning Crimson four was rife with experience. All five athletes competed earlier in the day as part of the first eight and returned to Lake Carnegie in the afternoon for the varsity four race.

“It was tough coming back from a full burn in the eight and hopping in the fours,” Campbell said. “We were definitely feeling our legs going down to the starting line, [but] crossing the starting line and getting onto the course, we snapped right into form.”

The boat was 12th in the starting order, but found itself surpassing several preceding crews.

“It was nice to have those other crews to push us down the race course,” Campbell said.

The crew completed the 2.75-mile course in 13:58.097, the only sub-14 minute finish. Yale trailed, finishing in 14:04.011, while Princeton lagged in third with a time of 14:16.466.

“The boat was running really well,” Campbell said. “We had it going nice and light and then coming around the turn, about two-and-a-half [kilometers] into the race we really picked it up and got some good speed into the finish.”

The first four placed fifth behind Yale’s second boat. Harvard’s third and fourth boats finished 11th and 12th, respectively, in the pack of 30 entries.

In the varsity eight race, the Crimson’s first eight was the first to start. The race took place mid-morning, just as unpredictable winds began to hit the Mid-Atlantic.

“It was definitely an interesting race for us because the way the wind worked was that you didn’t really get much practice in the tailwind before the race,” said senior three-seat Erich Schultze. “We did all our practice strokes in the headwind and then we’re expected to just turn around and go right on the course in different wind conditions. It’s just really hard to do.”

Despite the weather, the crew cruised to another victory, its second straight in two weeks. Harvard finished in 12:35.609, outpacing Yale by 1.85 seconds. The hometown Tigers, in a repeat of last week’s show at Head of the Charles, came in third, over ten seconds behind the Bulldogs with a finish of 12:48.561.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Schultze said. “We had a really aggressive piece. We started out hard and I think it’s always hard to win races.”

The second eight finished eighth overall out of 27 crews. Their time of 13:06.209 put them right between the first boats from Navy and Pennsylvania.

“I think today Yale was two seconds off of us after being a little further back,” Schultze said. “That just goes to show you the quality of the athletes we’re going up against. We’re fortunate to have had the fall that we did, and we’re excited going into winter training.”

In the freshman race, the two Crimson boats placed 16th and 24th. The entries were mixed heavy and lightweights. In the field of lightweights, the Harvard squads were eighth and 12th.

“This is a very talented and experienced group of guys right now, [but] the eight is nowhere near its full potential,” said Campbell, who sat in the five-seat of the first eight. “When we come together as a crew I think the results are going to be devastating like a hurricane.”

Campbell returns to Harvard after a year off spent training on the international scene.

“I’m excited to keep going with this crew,” Campbell said. “I spent the last year rowing in much smaller crews. I’ll have to say that it is definitely a lot more fun and lot more gratifying to win alongside eight of your best friends than it is to win alone.”