The Crimson varsity eight looks to remain unbeaten and claim its first Sprints gold in four years (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
The No. 1 Harvard lightweight crew enters Sunday’s Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Championships with a perfect 10-0 varsity dual record and the league’s top-seeded varsity entry as it looks to defend its Jope Cup team title and add some gold medals on Lake Quinsigamond.
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Cox: Dexter Louie, 8: Tim Moore, 7: Austin Meyer, 6: Will Newell, 5: Martin Eiermann, 4: Billy Hennrikus, 3: Andrew Trott, 2: Jared Dourdeville, 1: James Stewart
Second Varsity Eight
Cox: Lizzy Maybank, 8: Tyler Caldwell, 7: Ben Bayley, 6: Tom Nesel, 5: Sean Duncan, 4: Michael Murray, 3: Michael Silvestri, 2: Andrew Corcoran, 1: Benjamin Tuyp
Third Varsity Eight
Cox: Angela Chang, 8: Matt Gibbons, 7: Gary Pellisier, 6: Joshua Foote, 5: Christopher Oland, 4: Timothy Jundanian, 3: Martin Wallner, 2: Collin Rees, 1: Jordan Cotto
Cox: Paul Farber, 8: Florian Mayr, 7: Erich Schultze, 6: James Groeneveld, 5: Nicholas Gates, 4: Michael Paresky, 3: Tom Foley, 2: Matt O'Leary, 1: Alex Newell
Second Freshman Eight
Cox: Alex Saal, 8: Kevin Connolly, 7: Craig Herron, 6: Francisco Triana, 5: Gabriel Lloyd, 4: Chris Henderson, 3: Arturo Villanueva, 2: AJ Carvalho, 1: Simon Maas
In the six events that contribute to the Sprints team competitions (heavy and light varsity, second varsity and freshman eights), Harvard’s boats own a combined 43-4 dual-racing record, as the heavy and lightweight freshman eights join the light varsity with unblemished records. All six are seeded in the EARC’s top three, with the three unbeaten boats each seeded first.
Sprinting to Success
Harvard has more Sprints titles than any other school. Adding up the six major divisions at Eastern Sprints, Harvard crews have combined to win 134 titles, including 49 at the varsity level (25 heavyweight, 24 lightweight).
Last Season at Sprints
Led by a runner-up finish for the varsity eight, all five Crimson boats medaled to lift the Harvard lightweights to the Jope Cup as EARC team champion. The third varsity eight won its grand final, and the freshman eight placed second.
The heavyweights placed second in the varsity and team competitions and reached all five heavyweight grand finals with heat wins. The Crimson also recorded runner-up finishes in the freshman eight and the third varsity eight and placed third in the second freshman eight.
On 12 occasions, most recently in 2005, both the Harvard heavyweight and lightweight varsity eights won Sprints gold medals, a feat that 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 and 2005.
Only 11 times in the 64-year history of Sprints and on just six occasions since 1957 has Harvard failed to win at least one major grand final in either the heavyweight or the lightweight division. In one of those seasons (1981), the Crimson did not compete due to final exams. In two others (heavyweight in 1992, lightweight last season), Harvard has won a team cup despite not coming away with a gold medal.
The top-finishing Ivy League varsity eights in the heavy and light divisions will win the Ancient Eight title. The Harvard heavyweights have earned 25 Ivy crowns since 1957, while the lightweights have won 23.
Quest for the Cup
Harvard’s 2009 Jope Cup victory as Sprints lightweight team champion was its 20th and third since 2004. The Crimson has won the Jope Cup more times than any other team.
The Crimson also owns a league-high 29 Rowe Cup titles as heavyweight team champion. Five of those cup wins have come in the last eight years. Since 2002, the Harvard heavyweights and lightweights have won a combined eight team trophies.
A top-nine heavyweight varsity finish or top???seven lightweight showing is needed to land an EARC crew in the 108th IRA National Championships June 3-5 on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. Harvard has won three IRA heavyweight titles in the last seven years and seven IRA lightweight crowns.
Dual Season Recap
Harvard won each of its 10 varsity races, but the dual season was not without challenges. After opening with a 13.4-second home win against Delaware, the Crimson faced four top-10 crews over two days at locations 300 miles apart. Harvard finished more than 11 seconds ahead of No. 6 Cornell and No. 8 Penn in frigid, windy temperatures in Ithaca, N.Y., then returned home to defeat No. 5 Georgetown and No. 9 Saint Joseph’s.
The Crimson failed to finish first in just one race of the 14 in its first three regattas and continued that dominance as it raced for the Biglin Bowl against host Dartmouth and MIT. The Big Green varsity gave Harvard its closest race yet, but the Crimson won that event by 3.7 seconds as part of a four-race sweep.
Harvard entered the final two weeks of the dual season with matchups remaining against the other three of the top nation’s top four teams. First up was No. 3 Navy, and the Crimson rose to the challenge with a 5.5-second varsity win, its first in Annapolis, Md., since 1997. Harvard won three of the day’s other four races as well.
In the HYP dual finale, the Crimson varsity trailed top???ranked Princeton by as much as four seats but rallied to win by seven???tenths of a second and snap the Tigers’ 20-race win streak. The Harvard freshman eight also came from behind to cap an unbeaten dual season with a win against its rivals.
Records and Rankings
Harvard’s 10-0 varsity and freshman eights are both seeded first among EARC crews, while the second varsity (6-2), third varsity (4-3) and second freshman (4-2) eights are seeded third.
Harvard’s unbeaten varsity dual season is the 25th in program history, the fourth under head coach Charley Butt and the Crimson’s first since 1997. The Crimson varsity and freshman eights have each posted combined 18-1 records over the last two seasons.
Lightweight Coaching Staff
Charley Butt is in his 25th season guiding the Harvard lightweight varsity crew. Butt has led the Crimson varsity to six Eastern Sprints titles, most recently in 2005. He has led the second varsity eight into the winner’s circle at Sprints on five occasions, including back-to-back wins in 2004-05. Butt also coached former Radcliffe standout Michelle Guerette ’02 to an Olympic silver medal in 2008.
The Crimson’s freshman coach is Linda Muri, who is in her ninth year and guided her Yardlings to Sprints gold in 2004. Muri, a graduate of both MIT and Harvard, is the namesake of the Muri Cup, awarded annually to the winner of the MIT-Radcliffe lightweight women’s dual race.
Martin Eiermann (Mainz, Germany), captain of the Crimson lightweights, is in his third season in the varsity eight. In addition to his Harvard success, Eiermann rowed alongside Moritz Hafner ’09 in the men’s lightweight pair for Germany at the Rowing World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland in 2009.
The Varsity Eight
Four oarsmen and coxswain Dexter Louie (San Francisco, Calif.) of the Harvard lightweight varsity eight were in the top Crimson boat last season. Will Newell (Weston, Mass.), Andrew Trott (Cape Town, South Africa), Jared Dourdeville (Marion, Mass.) and Martin Eiermann sat in the six through three seats in the 2009 varsity.
Austin Meyer (Cohoes, N.Y.), Tim Moore (Exeter, N.H.) and James Stewart (Arlington, Va.) were part of the freshman eight last season, and Billy Hennrikus (Hershey, Pa.) rowed in the 2008 freshman eight.
Key to the HYP win was sophomore Tom Nesel (Castleton, N.Y.), who filled in for an injured varsity oarsman and fit in flawlessly despite a move from port to starboard and just two days of practice with his new boat.
Harvard’s Major Lightweight Sprints
Varsity eight: 1946, ’47, ’58, ’59, ’60, ’61, ’66, ’68, ’69, ’70, ’71, ’72, ’74, ’75, ’77, ’78, ’80, ’82, ’88, ’89, ’91, ’95, ’97, 2005.
Second varsity eight: 1946, ’52, ’58, ’60, ’62, ’65, ’67, ’68, ’69, ’70, ’71, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’75, ’76, ’77, ’79, ’80, ’85, ’87, ’90, ’91 2004, ’05.
Freshman eight: 1948, ’49, ’54, ’58, ’59, ’60, ’62, ’63, ’65, ’66, ’68, ’69, ’71, ’73, ’74, ’75, ’79, ’85, 2004.
Jope Cup: 1965, ’66, ’68, ’69, ’70, ’71, ’72, ’73, ’74, ’75, ’76, ’77, ’78, ’79, ’80, ’82, ’91, 2004, ’05, ’09.
Harvard’s varsity lightweights made the grand final in the first 62 years of the Eastern Sprints. Only four times has the Crimson varsity finished lower than fourth at Sprints: sixth in 1955, fifth in 2002 and 2007 and eighth in 2008.
The Crimson, which won 13 straight Jope Cups from 1968-80, is seeking its second back-to-back cups this decade after winning team titles in 2004 and ’05. Harvard has swept the lightweight competition at the Sprints eight times (1958, ’60, ’68, ’69, ’70, ’71, ’74, ’75). Yale (1950) and Princeton (1986, ’98) are the only other schools to achieve that feat.