Rising early in the morning for an 8:30 a.m. start, the No. 2 Harvard men’s lightweight came to the line against No. 9 Dartmouth and No. 12 MIT in the hopes of capturing the Biglin Bowl for the 55th time. And as with every Bowl race since 2009, the Crimson emerged victorious.
The boat, stroked by junior David Wexner and steered by junior coxswain Jack Stone, erupted off the starting line and never looked back, finishing eight seconds ahead of the Big Green and nine seconds ahead of the Engineers in a time of 5:45.126.
“We had a pretty quick start getting off the line,” Stone said. “We rowed at about a 46, 47, and it was a crosstail, so it was quick conditions, and we were going pretty quick throughout. We were up early on, but we kept widening the margin and especially coming off the Mass Ave. Bridge, that’s when we really took more distance on the other two crews.”
Stone said that the first varsity boat, which has maintained a consistent lineup throughout the season, is hitting its stride.
“I think this both is really getting into great rhythm,” Stone said. “We’ve been rowing the same lineup for more than a few weeks now, and things are really geling with each practice. It seems to just get better and better, so I think we can see that coming from the race against Columbia and Georgetown last weekend that we rowed a better race down the basin even against teams that weren’t as tough as Columbia.”
Stone also noted the strong performances of the other boats, which he says indicate the depth of the team. The Crimson’s second varsity boat captured its race in 5:59.500, and Harvard’s third, fourth, and fifth varsity boats breezed past Dartmouth’s 3V as well.
“It shows just what a great and deep program that we are with focus on all five boats every single week, and just great effort from all the guys and all the boats,” Stone said.
The No. 6 Radcliffe lightweight crew team traveled to Lake Merce in West Windsor Township, N.J., to compete in the Knecht Cup. In the varsity eight grand final, the first varsity eight finished sixth in 6:48.59, 10 seconds behind Penn. In the lightweight eight grand final, the Black and White earned fifth in 6:50.24, while Boston University’s A squad took the race. The lightweight four placed sixth as well in 7:58.67 in the varsity four grand final, a race that Quakers captured again.
Radcliffe also competed in the finals of three other races. The Black and White placed sixth in the in the lightweight four petite final in 8:18.17, sixth in the second varsity four final in 8:02.07, and second in the novice four final in 8:03.66.
The No. 7 men’s heavyweight crew stayed in Cambridge over the weekend and battled Ancient Eight rival Princeton in a tight contest for the Compton Cup on the Charles River over the weekend. The first varsity eight, stroked by junior Arthur Doyle and coxed by senior Cole Durbin, edged out the Tigers by two seconds in a time of 5:36.100. Sophomore David Ambler, who sat in the seventh seat of the boat, said that the team is bouncing back from a couple of injuries early in the season.
“Building off from last week, we had a disappointing result against Brown,” Ambler said. “We’ve had a few injuries this season to key guys, two of the guys from the 1V last year, Arthur Doyle and Lars Loch were out, and they’re two critical guys in our team, so having them back in the boat was a huge bonus. Obviously, Arthur in the stroke seat makes a huge difference, so it was just a calmer, clearer race, and we were rowing more in the way that we’ve been coached so far and that we really want to be doing, so that’s good.”
Ambler recognized the strong mental and physical preparation of the crew going into this weekend. The next couple of weeks will bring more swift competition to the waters of the Charles and beyond.
“Well, ultimately our season is built towards racing Yale in June, so we’ve got a few more dual races to go, and then really the key stepping stones for us are at the moment are we’ve got a big dual race coming up against Northeastern, who are looking pretty strong, and that’s our last race before Eastern Sprints, and then from Eastern Springs, it’s IRAs, and then IRAs to Harvard-Yale,” Ambler said.
For all crews, including the women’s heavyweight crew which was not in action this weekend, future clashes with strong programs means that the grueling, strenuous training regiment must continue, all in the hopes of shaving seconds off of times, increasing margins of victories, and ultimately capturing championship victories later in the season.
“There’s still a long season to go. We’re a month away from Springs,” said Stone of the lightweight crew’s schedule moving forward. “We have a tough race against Navy this weekend, and then against Yale and Princeton the weekend after that. We’re going to keep training hard and working hard.”
—Staff writer Leon K. Yang can be reached at email@example.com.