Harvard's varsity eight captured the Ladies' Challenge Plate in its last visit to Henley.
HENLEY-ON-THAMES, England—The Harvard heavyweight crew wraps up the 2010 season by racing against top teams from around the world in the Henley Royal Regatta. Racing will take place Wednesday through Sunday on the Thames River.
Competing at Henley for the first time since 2007, the Crimson varsity eight looks to match what it achieved that season, a victory in the Ladies' Challenge Plate. Harvard's freshman eight, unbeaten in dual competition during the U.S. collegiate season, will look to continue that success in the Temple Challenge Cup event, in which it last raced in 2008. Five seniors will represent the Crimson in the Prince Albert Cup for fours with coxswains, while another, Noah Bruegmann raced for a spot in the Diamond Challenge Sculls event.
Cox: Kelly Evans, 8: Patrick Lapage, 7: Matt Edstein, 6: Nick Jordan, 5: David Wakulich, 4: Sam O'Connor, 3: Michael DiSanto, 2: Anthony Locke, 1: Blake Pucsek
Cox: David Fuller, 8: Peter Scholle, 7: James O'Connor, 6: Parker Washburn, 5: Justin Mundt, 4: Jason Phillips, 3: Eli Shikaloff, 2: Alex MacIntosh, 1: Josh Hicks
Cox: Joseph Lin, 4: Mark Fuller, 3: Duncan Gilchrist, 2: Ivan Posavec, 1: Christopher Fuller
Racing at Henley occurs in head-to-head, bracket-style competition. A crew must win its first-round matchup to advance to the next round and so on. The regatta begins Wednesday. Harvard's first boat in action is the varsity four, which races the Isis Boat Club from Oxford University at 3:20 p.m. local time. At 5:35 p.m., the freshman eight takes on Southern California. The schedules for subsequent days' racing will be released later. The varsity eight starts its bid for the Ladies' Challenge Plate by facing the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Follow From Home
Up-to-the minute results for Henley racing will be available via the event's official results page, which also offers links to a mobile results page and results via text message for those following from within the United Kingdom. Fans can also follow along via the Henley Twitter feed. Updated schedules and other information are available from the Henley Royal Regatta official site.
Scouting the Crimson
Harvard is coming off a successful collegiate season in which the varsity eight captured the Eastern title, defeated Yale for the third straight season and placed fourth at the IRA National Championships. The Crimson freshman eight posted a 7-0 dual record, including a victory over Yale, and won gold at Eastern Sprints. Four of the five members of Harvard's varsity four (Christopher Fuller, Mark Fuller, Joseph Lin and Ivan Posavec) raced in the second varsity eight this season, capturing a bronze medal at the IRA Regatta as well as a win against Yale.
Anthony Locke, two-seat of the varsity eight, is the only Harvard oarsman to have previously rowed for the Crimson at Henley, having competed in the 2008 Temple Challenge Cup. Several other members of the team have competed at Henley with other crews, including captain Blake Pucsek. Racing for the Victoria City and Kingston Rowing Clubs, Pucsek and other members of the Canadian national program captured the Grand Challenge Cup in 2008.
Also in Action
Crimson Jack Morrissey, a London native, is rowing in the seven seat of an Molesey Boat Club eight in the Thames Challenge Cup event. Michael Bloomquist '03 and Toby Medaris '07 are competing for a Molesey/Berkhamstead Collegiate four in the Visitors' Challenge Cup. Malcolm Howard '05 is racing in the Diamond Challenge Sculls, while Simon Gawlik '09 is part of a Ladies' Challenge Plate entry.
Harvard's Henley History
Harvard crews have traveled to the Henley Royal Regatta many times and returned home with impressive victories, starting with the legendary 1914 junior varsity, which became the first American crew to win the coveted Grand Challenge Cup.
In 1972 Harvard achieved another first, entering the first college freshman crew to win the Thames Cup. One year later, the Crimson's junior varsity crew was its first to win the Ladies' Challenge Plate. In 1985, the Crimson won Henley's Grand Challenge Cup, its fifth and most recent title in Henley's most prestigious race. (Harvard also won Grand titles in 1939, '51 and'55.) In 1990 Harvard returned and captured the Ladies' Challenge Plate. The varsity four with coxswain set a course record while winning the 1993 Britannia Cup. Harvard then won the Ladies' Plate for an unprecedented fourth time in 1998.
Harvard's success at Henley has continued into the 21st century. In 2001, its freshmen won the Temple Cup, while in 2002 Harvard won an amazing three titles with Championships in the Ladies' Challenge Plate (varsity), Britannia Cup (four) and Temple Cup (freshmen).
Ladies' Challenge Plate
Harvard is the only American entry in the Ladies' Challenge Plate, which is the top competition for university and club eights below the open Grand Challenge Cup. The winning crew in the Crimson's first race will take on one of two crews from the Leander Club. The Oxford/Oxford Brookes boat will include Simon Gawlik. Also entered are Molesey Boat Club of England and a combined entry from Imperial College of England and Berliner Ruderclub of Germany.
Ladies' Challenge Plate History
While Harvard's varsity is racing at Henley for the first time in three years, the Crimson program is very familiar with the Ladies' Challenge Plate. Harvard is competing for the trophy for the fifth time in nine years. The Crimson has entered the event nine times previously, capturing the plate in 1973, '83, '90, '98, 2002 and '07. Harvard placed second in the event in 1989 and 2004.
The Crimson captured the 2007 Ladies' title with wins over crews from London Rowing Club and Melbourne University, Brown and, in the final, Molesey Boat Club and New York Athletic Club.
In 1845 a new challenge prize was offered for eight-oared crews, which, in the following year, was named the Ladies' Challenge Plate. Up to the 1966 regatta, entries for this event were restricted to boat clubs from colleges, schools and certain other academic institutions within the United Kingdom together with Trinity College, Dublin. The rules were then widened to permit entries from any college, school or academic institution throughout the world.
In 1985 rules changes removed the 'student' requirement for the Ladies' Plate, which became an event open to crews from any club and is now the second-most senior event for men's eights at the regatta.
Temple Challenge Cup
The Crimson is one of 32 crews competing in the Temple Cup, along with three other U.S. collegiate entries (Grand Valley State, Southern California, Washington) and teams from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan and South Africa. A win against USC would pit Harvard against the winner between Queen Mary University of London and Exeter University. Five straight wins will be required to hoist the Temple Cup.
Harvard has raced in this event six times since 1999, winning consecutive trophies in 2001 and '02. The Crimson last competed in 2008, defeating opponents Trinity College of Dublin, Balliol & Exeter Colleges of Oxford and Williams College before falling to eventual champion Western Ontario in the semifinals.
Prince Albert Challenge Cup
Harvard has one of 16 coxed fours entered in this event, which features competitors from the United Kingdom and Ireland in addition to U.S. colleges Princeton, Yale, Georgetown and Grand Valley State. Four wins are necessary to capture the trophy, and a Crimson win would advance Harvard to face the winner of Georgetown and the A entry from Cambridge's Lady Margaret Boat Club.
Diamond Challenge Sculls
Noah Bruegmann competed in the qualification race for the Diamond Challenge Sculls, but did not qualify for the final field of 16 individual oarsmen. He completed the 2,112-meter course in 7:50.3. Among those in the field is Malcolm Howard, a three-time national champion with the Crimson and a 2008 Olympic gold medalist as a member of the Canadian eight.
The Henley Royal Regatta was established in Henley-on-Thames, England, on March 26, 1839 and has been held annually ever since except during the two World Wars. The Grand Challenge Cup has always been open, except in the Olympic Games year of 1908, to all established amateur clubs.
The regatta has its own rules and is not subject to the jurisdiction of the governing body of rowing in England (the Amateur Rowing Association) or the International Rowing Federation (FISA), but is officially recognized by both.
There are 19 events in total: six classes of race for eights, five for fours (three coxless and two coxed), four for quadruple sculls, and races for coxless pairs and double sculls. In addition, there are single sculling races for both men and women.
There are 505 entered crews competing in 2010, including 116 overseas crews from 20 different nations competing. Great Britain, New Zealand and Canada have entered the majority of their crews preparing for the World Championships in New Zealand later this year and there are strong entries from the United States, France, the Netherland, Germany and Italy.
The length of the course is slightly longer than the standard international distance of 2,000 meters and takes approximately seven minutes to cover. The number of races is reduced on each successive day, leaving only the finals to be rowed on the last day.