CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Pursuing its 25th Eastern varsity title, the No. 1 Harvard lightweight crew enters the 2011 Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Sprints Championships Sunday on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., with unbeaten varsity and second varsity eights.
Of the six events that contribute to the Sprints team competitions (heavy and light varsity, second varsity and freshman eights), Harvard enters with a perfect dual record in five events and a combined 38-4 dual-racing record.
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 136 titles, including 50 at the varsity level (26 heavyweight, 24 lightweight).
Last Season at Sprints
The Crimson lightweights placed second in the varsity eight and freshman eight races as well as the team competition. The third varsity and second freshmen earned silver medals, while the second varsity placed fourth. The varsity finished 2.268 seconds behind Princeton.
Quest for the Cup
The 2009 Jope Cup victory as Sprints lightweight team champion was Harvard's 20th and third since 2004. The Crimson has won the Jope Cup more times than any other team. Since 2002, the Harvard heavy and lightweights have won a combined nine team trophies.
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 in 2009), 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 26 Ivy crowns since 1957, while the lightweights have won 23.
A top-nine heavyweight varsity finish or top‑seven lightweight showing is needed to land an EARC crew in the 109th IRA National Championships June 2-4 on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. Harvard has won three IRA heavyweight titles in the last eight years and seven IRA lightweight crowns.
Dual Season Recap
The Harvard lightweight varsity eight completed its first back-to-back perfect dual seasons since 1976 and '77. The season opened in March with a visit from Delaware as the varsity won by 11.1 seconds, one of four Harvard victories in five races.
A matchup of three top-10 teams turned into a head-to-head race between No. 2 Harvard and No. 10 Penn after third-ranked Cornell forfeited. The Crimson took all five races from the Quakers. A day later, Harvard met No. 5 Georgetown in Princeton, N.J., winning the varsity event by 3.6 seconds. Back home on the Charles River, Harvard got a challenge from No. 8 Dartmouth but beat the Big Green by 1.9 seconds and No. 14 MIT by 19.5 to take the Biglin Bowl. A week later, the Crimson edged No. 6 Navy by 1.2 seconds.
The Crimson entered the HYP regatta in a similar situation as last year—ranked second behind Princeton for the entire season—and got the same result—varsity wins against the Tigers and No. 4 Yale and a Vogel Cup team win. The varsity eight won by a second, and the second varsity topped the Tigers by 1.9 seconds to complete its perfect dual campaign.
Records and Rankings
Harvard's varsity (9-0) and second varsity (8-0) eights are both seeded first among EARC crews, while the third varsity eight (5-2) is seeded fourth. Both the freshman eight (5-4) and second eight are seeded fifth (3-3).
Cox: Angela Chang, 8: Matt O'Leary, 7: Austin Meyer, 6: Will Newell, 5: Erich Schultze, 4: Tim Moore, 3: Andrew Trott, 2: Jared Dourdevelle, 1: Tom Nesel
Second Varsity Eight
Cox: Lizzy Maybank, 8: Florian Mayr, 7: Alex Newell, 6: Billy Hennrikus, 5: Nicholas Gates, 4: Stuart Taylor, 3: Sean Duncan, 2: Tyler Caldwell, 1: Ben Bayley
Third Varsity Eight
Cox: Alex Saal, 8: Craig Herron, 7: Colin Rees, 5: Gary Pellisier, 6: Michael Paresky, 4: Simon Maas, 3: Martin Wallner, 2: Matt Gibbons, 1: Jordan Cotton
Cox: Shane Bouchard, 8: Michael Wales, 7: Andrew Campbell, 6: Peter Moot, 5: Joey Wall, 4: Cam Heron, 3: Zachary Connerton, 2: Alexander DeLaney, 1: Michael Zamora
Second Freshman Eight
Cox: Martin Cseh, 8: Benjamin Hughes, 7: Jamie Ashton, 6: Kevin Hernandez, 5: Luis Gallardo, 4: James Carey, 3: Steven Soto, 2: James Ondaatje, 1: Yoan N'Komba
Harvard's unbeaten varsity dual mark is the 28th in program history, the fifth under head coach Charley Butt. The Crimson varsity is 27-1 over the last three seasons. Harvard last posted perfect dual records in back‑to‑back seasons 34 years ago, when Butt was still in high school.
Charley Butt is in his 26th season guiding the Harvard lightweight varsity crew. He has led the Crimson varsity to six Eastern Sprints titles, most recently in 2005. He has guided the second varsity eight into the winner's circle at Sprints on five occasions, including back-to-back wins in 2004 and '05. Butt also coached former Radcliffe standout Michelle Guerette '02 to an 2008 Olympic silver medal in the women's single scull.
The Crimson's freshman coach is Linda Muri, who is in her 10th 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. She was a part of the Team USA coaching staff at the 2010 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, guiding the women's pair, four and eight to gold medals.
David Ringham is in his first season as a volunteer assistant.
Will Newell (Weston, Mass.), captain of the Crimson lightweights, has occupied the six seat of the varsity eight since the outset of his sophomore season. Along with teammate Austin Meyer (Cohoes, N.Y.), Newell helped the U.S. men's four earn a bronze medal in the 2010 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
The Varsity Eight
Five rowers are back from last season's varsity eight that earned a silver medal at Sprints: seven-seat Austin Meyer, Will Newell, four-seat Tim Moore (Exeter, N.H.), three-seat Andrew Trott (Cape Town, South Africa) and two-seat Jared Dourdeville (Marion, Mass.). Bowman Tom Nesel (Castleton, N.Y.) spent some time in the varsity boat last season, while Angela Chang (Potomac, Md.) coxed the third varsity. Stroke Matt O'Leary (Westwood, Mass.) and five-seat Erich Schultze (Foxboro, Mass.) were part of the Crimson's 10-0 freshman boat last season.
O'Leary and Schultze have never lost a collegiate dual race, and none of the varsity eight oarsmen have lost a dual race in the last two seasons. O'Leary is the son of Radcliffe heavyweight coach Liz O'Leary, and Newell is the older brother of Crimson sophomore and second varsity rower Alex Newell (Weston, Mass.).
Harvard's Major Lightweight Sprints Championships
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.
1948, '49, '54, '58, '59, '60, '62, '63, '65, '66, '68, '69, '71, '73, '74, '75, '79, '85, 2004.
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 varsity finished lower than fourth: 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 cup in three years. 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.