Harvard, Yale Heavyweights Renew College Sports' Oldest Rivalry Saturday
NEW LONDON, Conn.—The nation's oldest rivals take to the Thames River Saturday afternoon for the 146th rowing of the Harvard‑Yale Regatta, America's oldest intercollegiate sporting event. The Eastern‑champion Crimson is seeking its fourth straight win against the Bulldogs and its 11th in the last 12 years.
Following Friday's 5 p.m. combination race, Saturday's competition gets going with the freshman race at 3 p.m. The second varsity race follows at 3:45, with the varsity race at 4:45.
Fans can catch the call of the racing on WKNL, Kool 101 FM (100.9). Harvard graduate Charlie Hamlin '70 and Yale lightweight coach Andy Card will have the call from the course. The broadcast will also be available online at www.kool101fm.com. Video of the racing will be recorded and made available later in the weekend.
Cox: Chris Kingston, 8: Patrick Lapage, 7: Jason Phillips, 6: Nick Jordan, 5: Matthew Edstein, 4: Anthony Locke, 3: Michael DiSanto, 2: Josh Hicks, 1: James O'Connor
Second Varsity Eight
Cox: David Fuller, 8: Peter Scholle, 7: Justin Mundt, 6: Benjamin French, 5: Elihu Reynolds, 4: Jack Morrissey, 3: David Wakulich, 2: Parker Washburn, 1: JP Hogan
Cox: William Hakim, 8: Andrew Holmes, 7: Jake Sobstyl, 6: Caspar Jopling, 5: Gregory Edwards, 4: Max Monfared, 3: Andrew Reed, 2: Ben Lynton, 1: Jamie Law-Smith
Cox: Alex Sopko, 8: Phil Matthews, 7: Conner Griffith, 6: Mihailo Malowany, 5: Alex Soutter, 4: Alex Macintosh, 3: Andrew Hamm, 2: Andrew Stein, 1: David Paresky
Harvard has entered eights in 20 events in this year's dual regattas and has won each race. Each Crimson boat racing Saturday is unbeaten in all races with an EARC gold medal to its credit.
The Varsity Matchup
For the third straight year, Harvard and Yale avoided each other at Sprints and will meet for the first time in New London. The Crimson (6-0) already has a second straight Sprints title under its belt, while the Bulldogs (3-3) are coming off a win in the Sprints petite final.
The 2010 Varsity Race
Last year's 5.9-second margin was the slimmest of Harvard's 10 H-Y victories in 11 years. The Yale varsity took a three-seat lead in the opening mile, but the Crimson surged back into the Bulldogs, went ahead a mile into the race, and the lead reached a full length at two miles. Harvard led by eight seconds with a mile left to race, but the Bulldogs fought to the end, gaining one second in each of the final half-miles and finishing in 19:46.2 after the Crimson posted a time of 19:40.3.
Perfect Seasons Under Parker
The Harvard varsity eight is seeking its 21st perfect dual season in the coaching tenure of Harry Parker and its second in three years.
Going the Distance
While most races are 2,000 meters in length, the Crimson and Eli varsities depart from that "sprint" distance to battle along a four-mile course. The varsity race is the longest of its kind in America and three times the distance of a normal race. (Each crew will take approximately 700 strokes to complete the course.) The combination and freshman races are two miles long, and the second varsity contest is three.
College sports' longest-running rivalry dates back more than a century and a half to a two‑mile race, won by Harvard, August 3, 1852 on Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire.
Saturday's race is the 124th on the Thames. Harvard leads the rivalry, 91-54, including a 74-49 edge in New London. The last non-New London race occurred on May 18, 1974, on Boston's Charles River. This is the 66th straight year Harvard and Yale are rowing each other. The last time they didn't meet was 1945 during World War II.
Harvard has swept freshman, second varsity and varsity races at each of the last three Regattas. The Crimson previously swept the Regatta for four straight seasons from 2001-04. It was a feat not accomplished since Harvard recorded five straight sweeps from 1971-75. Yale won two of three races in 2007 and last swept the Regatta in 1996.
Racing will be held upstream for the 11th time in 12 years, ending at Bartlett's Cove. Harvard's run of 17 straight upstream wins was broken in 2007, but the Crimson still leads the upstream series, 39-23. Harvard holds the upstream record with its time of 18:41.9 in 1995.
The Second Varsity Race
The second varsity event has been the most competitive in recent years. Yale won twice in three years from 2005 to '07, but Harvard has since claimed three straight victories and holds an all-time series lead of 71-37. The Crimson hung on for a dramatic two-second win in 2009 and won by 15.6 seconds last season. In last year's race, the Crimson gained a couple seats off the start line and steadily pulled away from there, winning in 14:46.8 to the Bulldogs' 15:02.4.
Both second varsities have had winning seasons and raced in the Sprints grand final. Harvard (5-0) finished 3.5 seconds clear of the EARC field, while Yale (4-2) placed sixth.
The Freshman Race
A 14.9-second win in 2010 was the Crimson's fourth straight and eighth in nine years. It increased Harvard's freshman series lead to 67-39-1. Harvard used a low stroke rate to take an open-water lead just after the half-mile mark. The Crimson stretched its lead to nine seconds by the mid-point of the two-mile race and added six more seconds in the final mile, crossing in 9:32.7. Yale finished in 9:47.6.
At 7-0 so far, Harvard is seeking its fifth straight perfect freshman dual record. The Crimson was pushed by Northeastern and Princeton in duals but finished 5.9 seconds ahead of the pack in the Sprints grand final. The Bulldogs (1-3) faced Harvard in a Sprints heat, finishing fourth, about 15 seconds back. They took third in the petite final.
The Combination Race
Friday's combination race is a chance to combine oarsmen from the varsity and heavyweight squads, but the Crimson's "combi" lineup is expected to be the same as its third varsity eight, which placed second at Eastern Sprints, just two seconds behind Wisconsin. The third varsity has posted a 5-0 dual record.
Crimson Coaching Staff
Harry Parker, the Thomas Bolles Head Coach for Harvard Men's Crew, is in his 49th season. He has guided the Crimson to 23 varsity Sprints titles and 18 second varsity crowns. Parker's dual coaching record is 304‑44-1, and his varsity has gone undefeated 20 times. The third and fourth varsities are led by first-year assistant coach Boris Kusturic.
Harvard's freshman coach, in his 13th season, is Bill Manning. He has directed the Crimson rookies to the 1999, 2001, '02, '04, '08, '10 and '11 Sprints titles. A Harvard freshman win against Yale would give Manning his fifth straight perfect dual season.
Sprinting to Success
Harvard crew won four grand finals and swept the Rowe Cup events for its second consecutive varsity and team championships—and its second straight Ivy League title—at the EARC Sprints May 15 on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass..
The Crimson claimed its 27th Eastern and Ivy titles and its 31st Rowe Cup team win while sweeping the varsity eight, second varsity eight and freshman eight events for the sixth time in program history. It was only the ninth top-three heavyweight sweep by any school in the 65-year history of the Sprints.
The Rowe Cup win was the Crimson's seventh in 10 years. Harvard's heavyweight second varsity title was its 21st and first since 2006; the freshman crown was the Crimson's 22nd and third in four years.
Harvard started the varsity race well, gaining an early three-seat lead, but Wisconsin caught up and passed the Crimson in the second 500 meters. Harvard regained its three-seat advantage by the 1,000 mark and led the rest of the way, winning by about two seconds in 5:40.388 as Princeton edged the Badgers for silver.
The Crimson won the freshman eight grand final by 5.9 seconds and the second varsity grand final by 3.5. The Crimson fourth varsity eight finished more than four seconds ahead of the other two boats in its race.
Simply the Best
Harvard's 31 Rowe Cup victories and its 27 varsity, 21 second varsity and 22 freshman Sprints titles are all the highest totals among the competing programs. Its 71 total major-event wins are more than double the second-highest total.
More on the Crimson's big day at Sprints: Harvard has swept the three major heavyweight divisions at Eastern Sprints six times (1945, '65, '85, '90, 2004 and '11). Only three other times has one school swept all three races: 1952 (Navy), '79 (Yale) and '94 (Brown).
Harvard's heavyweight success was part of a banner day for Harvard. The Crimson lightweight varsity eight followed their heavier counterparts with an Eastern title of their own, marking the 13th time Harvard has won gold in both varsity eight races. That feat has only been accomplished four times by non-Harvard crews. The Crimson won both divisions in 1947, '59, '66, '68, '69, '74, '75, '77, '80, '88, '89, 2005 and '11.
The Harvard lightweight second varsity eight also won a Sprints title, giving the Crimson wins in five of the six major divisions for the sixth time (1965, '69, '74, '85, 2004 and '11).
Dual Season Recap
In a dual season characterized by difficult racing conditions, undefeated Harvard has repeatedly come out on top, starting with an 18.1-second victory against visiting Cornell.
In the matchup between the last two Sprints varsity champions, Harvard swept five races from Brown, taking the varsity race for the Stein Cup by 2.6 seconds. The race was even tighter for the Compton Cup at Princeton, where the Crimson outlasted the Tigers by 1.2 seconds, while the lower boats won by wide margins.
As part of a five-race sweep of Navy and Penn on the Schuylkill River, the Harvard varsity beat the Midshipmen by four seconds and the Quakers by 15.6. The Harvard freshmen faced their toughest test so far against neighboring Northeastern, winning by 1.2 seconds. The varsity, meanwhile, pulled away to a 14.7-second victory for the Smith Cup.
The Harvard heavyweight varsity eight has defeated its last 12 and 26 of its last 27 dual opponents. The Crimson freshman eight has defeated 34 straight dual opponents since falling to Yale to close the 2006 season.
A Winning Boat
The Harvard varsity eight races in the same shell that Malcolm Howard '05 and the Canada men's eight rowed to a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The boat was dedicated in Howard's honor following last season's Compton Cup sweep of Princeton and MIT.
The Crimson heavyweights are captained by senior Anthony Locke (Isle of Wight, England), who has rowed in the varsity eight in every spring race the last three seasons. He has three Eastern titles (two varsity, one freshman), a Sprints varsity runner-up finish and a Henley championship to his credit. Locke has earned bronze medals as part of the Great Britain eight in each of the last two World Rowing Under 23 Championships regattas and won gold at the 2006 World Rowing Junior Championships.
Yale captain Derek Johnson is the son of former Harvard oarsman Brian Johnson '71. Brian rowed to H-Y wins in the 1968 freshman, '69 junior varsity and '70 varsity races.
Her Majesty's Men
Four of the nine varsity athletes are English, and Nick Jordan (Princeton, N.J.) was schooled at Eton College before coming to Harvard.
The Varsity Eight
Each oarsman in the Harvard varsity eight won gold at Sprints last season, including five in the varsity eight: senior Anthony Locke and juniors Patrick Lapage (Shrewsbury, England), Nick Jordan, Matthew Edstein (Sydney, Australia) and Michael DiSanto (Boston, Mass.).
The remaining three rowers were part of the gold-winning Crimson freshman boat last year: Jason Phillips (London, England), Josh Hicks (Waterford, Australia) and James O'Connor (Christchurch, New Zealand). Senior coxswain Chris Kingston (Bedford, England) guided the varsity to a runner-up Sprints finish in 2009.
Ivy League Champions
Harvard's Sprints win secured the Ivy League championship for the Crimson and first-team All-Ivy League honors for the members of the varsity eight. It was the second straight first-team All-Ivy nod earned by each of the five returning oarsmen. Anthony Locke and Chris Kingston were second-team honorees in 2009. David Wakulich (St. Catherines, Ont.) was a second‑team performer in 2009 and a first-teamer last season.
Harvard and Yale won a combined 12 league titles in 2010-11: Yale in men's golf, women's golf, men's hockey, men's squash, women's squash, women's tennis and women's volleyball; Harvard in men's basketball, men's heavyweight crew, men's lightweight crew, men's fencing and softball.
A Crimson win Saturday would give Harvard dual victories against Yale in men's heavyweight, men's lightweight and women's heavyweight crew in the same year for the first time since 2003, when each of those Harvard/Radcliffe varsity eights won national titles.
The Course Record
The Crimson set the downstream (and course) mark of 18:22.4 in 1980.
An Early Encounter
Last year's H-Y Regatta was the first in 20 years to be held in May. The last Regatta this early was May 22, 1977, a Crimson win.
The Regatta's longest win streak is 18, accomplished by Harvard from 1963‑80, Harry Parker's first 18 years. The Crimson won 11 in a row from 1985-95, 10 straight from 1936-48 (the race wasn't held in 1943, '44 and '45) and seven consecutively from 2000-06. Yale's longest win streak is six, which it has accomplished three times (1893-98, 1900-05 and 1921-26).
Harvard-Yale in the Spotlight
The Harvard-Yale crew rivalry was featured in the cover story of the June 2000 issue of Yankee Magazine. ABC then followed 2002's 150th anniversary race for an extended piece that ran on World News Tonight. Sports Illustrated, in its college sports issue in April 1997, called the Harvard‑Yale crew race "college sports' most venerable rivalry."
Still to Come
While the Harvard-Yale Regatta has most often served as the finale of the collegiate rowing season, this season will wrap up with the IRA National Championships June 2-4 on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. The Crimson finished fourth in last year's national regatta, while the Elis qualified for the petite final, placing fifth in that race and 11th overall.