Harvard Heavyweight Crew Set to Race for National Title at IRA Regatta
Harvard's heavyweight crew, last season's runner-up, rows for a national championship at the 110th Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships this weekend on the Cooper River in Camden. N.J.
The Crimson heavyweight varsity eight, second varsity eight and Eastern-champion freshman eight all completed flawless dual seasons with wins against the rival Bulldogs in the 147th Harvard‑Yale Regatta last weekend, following top-two finishes at Eastern Sprints. Those boats, along with the open and varsity fours, compete in heats Thursday morning, looking to advance to semifinals Friday and finals Saturday.
Cox: David Fuller, 8: Patrick Lapage, 7: Michael DiSanto, 6: Caspar Jopling, 5: Matthew Edstein, 4: Sam O'Connor, 3: Parker Washburn, 2: Andrew Holmes, 1: James O'Connor
Cox: William Hakim, 8: Peter Scholle, 7: Ben Lynton, 6: Josh Hicks, 5: Nick Jordan, 4: Andrew Reed, 3: Elihu Reynolds, 2: Jack Morrissey, 1: Justin Mundt
Both the heavyweight and lightweight varsity eights placed second—the lights by just one‑fiftieth of a second—as Harvard totaled six medals in its seven events at last season's IRA regatta. The lightweight four won IRA gold, while the heavyweight second varsity eight joined the two varsities as silver medalists.
Washington topped Harvard by 2.7 seconds in the heavyweight varsity eight grand final, the only race the Crimson did not win in its collegiate season. Harvard edged defending champion California for the silver and placed second in the team competition for the Ten Eyck Trophy. The Crimson freshman eight and open four each took bronze, and the varsity four placed second in its third-level final.
In the four IRA events in which Harvard regularly competes during the season (heavy varsity, second varsity and freshman eights; light varsity eight), Harvard's boats own a combined 32-0 dual-racing record and added four medals, two gold and two silver, at Sprints.
The Harvard heavyweight varsity eight (8-0 dual record) is seeded third, behind defending champion Washington and the Brown crew that edged the Crimson for Sprints gold. The Crimson freshman eight (8-0) is seeded second behind the Huskies, and the second varsity eight (7-0), seeking its third straight IRA medal, is seeded fourth. The Crimson lightweight varsity (9-0) enters with a No. 1 national ranking.
Not Done Yet
The IRA regatta marks the end of Harvard's collegiate season, but both the Crimson heavyweight and lightweight teams will send boats to compete in the Henley Royal Regatta June 27-July 1 in Henley-on-Thames, England. Harvard's heavyweight four captured the Prince Albert Cup last year at Henley.
Three of Harvard's nine official heavyweight national championships have come at the IRA regatta: 2003, '04 and '05. The Crimson lightweights have won seven IRA titles. The only schools to sweep the heavy and light races are Harvard (2003) and Princeton (1998).
Heavyweight IRA History
The first IRA regatta took place in 1895 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Harvard first rowed at the IRAs in 1896, placing second to Cornell and ahead of Penn and Columbia in a race on the Hudson River. The Crimson raced again in 1897 but did not come back for almost 100 years, in 1995, when it placed fourth in a race won by Brown on the Cooper River.
After an eight-year absence, Harvard returned again in 2003, claiming the Varsity Challenge Cup with an open-water victory over Washington. That helped propel the Crimson to the Ten Eyck Cup, representative of overall team supremacy. The Crimson followed with varsity and team titles in each of the next two seasons. Harvard has also captured IRA gold in the 2004 freshman four, the 2006 second varsity eight and varsity four without coxswain and the 2008 open four events.
A Grand Tradition
In the nine years since returning to the IRA regatta, the Crimson heavyweight varsity has reached the grand final eight times. Harvard tied Stanford for second place in 2007 for its most recent varsity medal before last season.
Heavyweight Varsity Eight
The Harvard heavyweight varsity eight is made up of four oarsmen from last year's IRA runner-up varsity (Michael DiSanto, Matthew Edstein (Sydney, Australia), Patrick Lapage (Shrewsbury, England), James O'Connor (Christchurch, New Zealand)); two sophomores from the 2011 bronze-medal freshman boat (Andrew Holmes (Lochwinnoch, Scotland), Caspar Jopling (London, England)); Sam O'Connor (Christchurch, New Zealand), who missed the 2011 spring with an injury after rowing in the Eastern-champion varsity in 2010, and Parker Washburn (Andover, Mass.) and coxswain David Fuller (Chestnut Hill, Mass.), who earned IRA second varsity silver last season.
The nine athletes have totaled 12 IRA medals, with seniors DiSanto, Edstein, Lapage and Sam O'Connor winning freshman silver in 2009. Seven of them took part in the Head of the Charles win in October.
Back for More
The lone three-time IRA medalist on the Crimson is Elihu Reynolds (Queensbury, N.Y.), who earned silver in the 2009 freshman and '11 second varsity eights and bronze in the '10 second varsity. There are five other two-time medalists among the 21 athletes competing for Harvard who earned medals last season.
Harry Parker was one of five recipients of the 2012 Harvard Medal for extraordinary service to the university named by the Harvard Alumni Association. They received the medals from President Drew Faust as part of Harvard's Commencement ceremonies May 24.
From Near and Far
Six of the nine athletes in the varsity eight hail from outside the United States. The other three are Massachusetts natives. The second varsity includes three athletes from the Bay State and three from abroad. The freshman eight, coxed by Jack Smith (Worcester, Mass.), is manned by five Australians, two Englishmen and Max Meyer-Bosse (Westport, Conn.).
Junior Parker Washburn (sweep) and freshman Max Meyer-Bosse (sculling) of the Harvard heavyweight crew have been invited to the U.S. Men's Under 23 National Team camps to select crews for the World Rowing Under 23 Championships July 11-15 in Trakai, Lithuania.