This Sunday, Harvard women’s crew took on a field comprising many of the top teams in the country and came away with some strong finishes. The Radcliffe heavyweight and lightweight teams travelled to Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J., for the Princeton 3-Mile Chase.
The Radcliffe heavyweights faced nearly every team they will see in the spring season in the varsity eight event. Three Black and White crews competed, and the A boat crossed the line in 15:21 to end up 13th out of 65 boats. The Radcliffe crew was narrowly edged by University of Virginia’s D entry, which crossed the line less than half a second ahead of the Black and White.
The Radcliffe first boat topped a number of the top entries from opposing teams, including Penn, Dartmouth, and Navy. Ancient Eight rivals, Brown, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, and Columbia managed to top Radcliffe on the day.
“I think we stayed internal and therefore were lacking the aggression and intensity to get the results we were hoping to see at this race,” sophomore heavyweight Katherine Playfair said. “We were more composed than [in] our previous race, and that was both a strength and a flaw for our boat.”
Radcliffe’s B boat also had a strong showing and finished 15 seconds behind the A entry for 21st overall. The second boat was the fifth fastest B entry across the line, and beat out several programs’ A crews.
Rounding out the field for Radcliffe, the heavyweight C boat ended up 42nd overall and topped the third boats from a number of rival teams.
The Radcliffe lightweights had a successful day competing in the same event as the heavyweights. The lightweight A boat ended up 18th overall against heavyweight opponents and was the fastest lightweight boat, beating out the closest competitor, Princeton, by 20 seconds and topped crosstown rival Boston University’s first lightweight boat by more than 30 seconds.
“We had targets on our backs this weekend and we wanted to prove again that we were the fastest lightweight crew on the water,” said junior lightweight co-captain Ruby Emberling. “ Overall, the team had great results, posting winning times that were much more decisive than in Head of the Charles. It was a good sign that we could race so well even away from our home course.”
The Radcliffe lightweight B boat also impressed. It was the fastest lightweight JV on the day, edging out BU’s second lightweight entry by seven seconds.
“Our boat had a very aggressive race,” Emberling said. “It was great to feel it all pull together and finish ahead of both of our lightweight competitors.”
Earlier in the weekend, Radcliffe sent a small contingent of athletes to Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ for the Collegiate Small Boat Challenge.
The regatta pitted Radcliffe against an unusual mix of competitors, with Cornell the only other Ivy League team present. The Black and White also competed in singles, doubles, and pairs, in addition to their standard eights and fours.
In the pair, Radcliffe’s top finishers were senior lightweights Gabrielle McNeill and Naomi Lang, who ended up 11th overall against exclusively heavyweight opponents.
Freshman lightweights Josie Thiele and Marina Felix raced in the double and took first place in the B final for a seventh-place finish overall.
Radcliffe’s strongest performance of the regatta came from sophomore heavyweight Abigail Parker, who bested 14 competitors to finish first in the single. The Massachusetts native pulled away from the second-place Syracuse entry for a five-second victory.
The team will look to build on the result and improve heading into the end of the fall season.
“I felt that our team definitely made progress since the Head of the Charles,” Playfair said. “We understand that we have a long way to go until we are at a place where we feel satisfied with our performance, but this [weekend] was a small step in the right direction.”
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