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BRIEF: Radcliffe Races Strong Despite Weather Challenges at Head of the Charles

By Patrick J. Anderson, Crimson Staff Writer

In the 52nd iteration of the Head of the Charles Regatta, the black and white of Radcliffe Crew topped previous performances facing some of the toughest conditions in regatta history. With tens of thousands of spectators weathering the elements, the crews benefitted strongly from the home field advantage.

The Radcliffe Heavyweight varsity eight pulled its way to a thirteenth position, eleventh among the collegiate boats, in the Championship Eight Event. On the lightweight side, the 130’s rowed away from the rest of the field to an eleven-second victory over local rival, Boston University, in the Lightweight Eight Event.

The lightweight win was an improvement over last year’s second-place victory and also proved to be an impressive margin over their Charles River nemesis, the Terriers, who trailed Radcliffe by less than a second in last year’s lightweight eight event. This victory was the first in the college careers of any of the three seniors, who had been runners up twice in the last three years.

The heavyweights, stroked by sophomore Raphaella Stalph, improved on last year’s 19th place finish. The varsity boat represented a younger face of Radcliffe, with co-captain Abigail Parker as the only senior in the crew. Nevertheless, the youthful crew proved its ability to hang with the top competition from around the world.

Throughout the weekend, thirty to fifty mile-per-hour gusts plagued athletes on both days. Oarsmen alternated between raging headwinds and ripping tailwinds as they navigated the Charles River’s notoriously windy course and narrow bridge arches. Both crews were supported by a large turnout. On Saturday, an alumnae reception at Weld Boathouse attracted many Radcliffe athletes of yesteryear, while clear conditions sustained a supportive fan base for the Sunday races.

—Staff writer Patrick J. Anderson can be reached at

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