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Season Preview: No. 4 Men's Heavyweights Look to Keep Winning in 2010

Blake Pucsek is the captain of the 2010 Crimson heavyweights (photo courtesy David Silverman).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Following yet another undefeated dual season, some of the varsity personnel of the Harvard heavyweight crew has changed, but the aspirations remain the same in 2010 as the fourth-ranked Crimson seeks more dual success, a return trip to the Eastern Sprints podium and an IRA medal.

Last season’s Crimson finished second in the varsity eight and the Rowe Cup overall team points competition at the Eastern Sprints, earning medals in four events. Harvard went on to advance to the varsity eight grand final, finishing fifth, at the IRA National Championships, while the freshman eight won Sprints and IRA silver.

The 2009 season was capped by a four-race sweep in the 144th Harvard-Yale Regatta, as the varsity and freshman eights each finished with 7-0 dual records. It was the 20th perfect dual campaign in the 47-year tenure of Harry Parker, The Stone Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Crew.

In 2010, members of both last season’s undefeated boats will be called upon to guide Harvard to its simple goals of rowing fast and winning often. Five oarsmen return from varsity eight: captain Blake Pucsek, fellow seniors Richard Anderson and Noah Bruegmann and juniors Anthony Locke and David Wakulich.

Half of last season’s final second varsity rowers return, as well as coxswain Joseph Lin. Ben French, Chris and Mark Fuller and Duncan Gilchrist all helped the Crimson take fifth place in the IRA grand final. Ryan Bucke and Ivan Posavec also contributed to Harvard’s 4-2 dual record at second varsity.

Key to the Crimson’s chances will be not only the performance of the returning varsity rowers from the boats coached by Parker and assistant coach Wayne Berger, but also the emergence of the sophomores who are stepping up from last year’s successful freshman season. Freshman coach Bill Manning welcomes in 24 new rookies to try to replace that outstanding group.

The Schedule
A new academic calendar brings changes to Harvard’s rowing schedule. The most notable switch is moving the Harvard-Yale race from mid-June to May 29, which is the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, two weeks after Sprints and a week prior to the IRA regatta.

The beginning of the schedule has also changed. Before facing fellow Eastern power Brown—the rival that edged the Crimson for the Sprints gold last season—in the season opener as in previous years Harvard has added another strong opponent, Cornell, to the schedule. After visiting the Big Red and Bears, Harvard will compete in home races against MIT and Princeton, Navy and Penn and Northeastern, with trophies on the line in each regatta.

This Weekend
Harvard travels to Ithaca, N.Y., to face Cornell in the season opener Saturday. A newcomer to the Crimson’s dual schedule, the Big Red is not an unfamiliar foe. Cornell has been competing at crew since 1873, 21 years after the inaugural Harvard-Yale race, and had an outstanding 2009 season. The Big Red went 11-0 and finished fourth at Sprints and ninth at the IRA National Championships. Cornell opened the season with a win against Bucknell at last weekend’s Ithaca dual Regatta.

Saturday’s Racing Schedule
8:50 a.m. – Third Varsity Eight
9:20 a.m. – Varsity Eight
9:50 a.m. – Second Varsity Eight
10:20 a.m. – Freshman Eight
10:50 a.m. – Second Freshman Eight

Harvard Lineups
Varsity Eight
Cox: Kelly Evans, 8: Patrick Lapage, 7: Matthew Edstein, 6: Sam O'Connor, 5: David Wakulich, 4: Nick Jordan, 3: Michael DiSanto, 2: Anthony Locke, 1: Blake Pucsek

Second Varsity Eight
Cox: Joseph Lin, 8: Phil Matthews, 7: Christopher Fuller, 6: Mark Fuller, 5: Spencer Livingston, 4: Ivan Posavec, 3: Connor Griffith, 2: Benjamin French, 1: Elihu Reynolds

Third Varsity Eight
Cox: Alex Sopko, 8: Kyle Gordon, 7: Alex Soutter, 6: Richard Anderson, 5: Karl Hirt, 4: Lukens Orthwein, 3: David Paresky, 2: Jack Morrissey, 1: Andrew Hamm

Freshman Eight
Cox: David Fuller, 8: Peter Scholle, 7: Justin Mundt, 6: Parker Washburn, 5: James O'Connor, 4: Jason Phillips, 3: Eli Shikaloff, 2: Alex MacIntosh, 1: Josh Hicks

Second Freshman Eight
Cox: Colby Wikason, 8: Matthew Vincent, 7: Nolan Pollock, 6: Shaw McKean, 5: Tom Hanson, 4: William Polachek, 3: Mick Malowany, 2: Luke Phillips, 1: Chris Goldstein