Radcliffe Varsity Eight Wins Its Final Race at NCAA Championships

The varsity eight approaches the finish after leading the entire race.
The varsity eight approaches the finish after leading the entire race.

Practice: PhotosVideo
Day 1: Recap | Photos | Video
Day 2: Results
Day 3: Photos | Video

GOLD RIVER, Calif.—The Radcliffe heavyweight varsity eight won the third-level final Sunday at the NCAA Championships, good for 13th place overall and part of a 14th-place team finish on Lake Natoma.

The Black and White varsity finished two spots ahead of its seed, and the other two Radcliffe boats matched their seeds. The varsity four opened the day with a runner-up showing in its third-level final for 14th place overall, and the second varsity eight placed third for 16th place. The Ivy League proved itself as the top conference in the country, with Brown winning the NCAA team title and Princeton capturing the varsity eight championship.

"The most important thing for me this year is that our team brought itself back into contention with the best teams in the country," head coach Liz O'Leary said. "All our crews should be proud of the way they rowed here. For the first varsity in particular, leading wire-to-wire, beating their seed and doing it all with their base speed was really exciting. I think our young team learned a lot about what they're capable of accomplishing."

The varsity eight led all the way to end a strong season on another high note. The margin stood at four seats over second-place Ohio State through 500 meters and reached a full boat length after the next 750. Radcliffe owned the fastest split in each of the first three 500-meter segments. The Buckeyes gained a half-second on the Black and White in the final 500 but could not threaten Radcliffe in the end. The Black and White won in 6:34.45, more than two seconds ahead of Ohio State, while Clemson overtook Dartmouth for third place.

It was the third straight NCAA appearance for Radcliffe that has ended with a varsity race win. The Black and White also won the third final in 2009, a year after winning the petite final. Radcliffe finished the 2011 spring season with an 11-4 dual record and Beanpot team and varsity championships to its credit. 

The varsity four rowed in second place throughout its race. Michigan State got off the line fastest and led by about two seconds after 500 meters and four seconds after 1,000. Radcliffe led third-place Dartmouth by nearly two seconds after 500 meters. The Big Green battled Clemson for third throughout the race. The Tigers defeated Dartmouth but could not gain ground on the Black and White. Radcliffe finished in 7:32.72, reaching the line 4.22 seconds after the Spartans and 1.99 in front of Clemson.

Radcliffe's second varsity eight was second through 500 meters, more than two seconds ahead of Clemson, and continued to lead the Tigers at the midway point. Clemson took off in the second half of the race, passing the Black and White in the third 500 and challenging first-place Dartmouth in the final 500. Radcliffe finished in 6:41.91.

Team Standings
Brown 85
Stanford 85
California 83
Princeton 72
Southern California 72
Virginia 69
Michigan State 55
Washington 54
Wisconsin 44
Ohio State 44
Yale 42
Washington State 39
Michigan 33
Radcliffe 17
Clemson 12
Dartmouth 10

Varsity Eight
Third-Level Final
Radcliffe 6:34.45
Ohio State 6:36.62
Clemson 6:38.47
Dartmouth 6:40.63

Petite Final
Virginia 6:33.24
Yale 6:33.83
Wisconsin 6:37.65
Washington 6:38.06
Washington State 6:42.66
Michigan 6:42.74

Grand Final
Princeton 6:27.12
Brown 6:28.62
Stanford 6:28.67
California 6:30.06
Southern California 6:30.19
Michigan State 6:36.12

Second Varsity Eight
Third-Level Final
Dartmouth 6:34.45
Clemson 6:34.91
Radcliffe 6:41.91

Petite Final
Washington 6:35.91
Michigan State 6:37.28
Princeton 6:37.43
Washington State 6:40.57
Michigan 6:42.28
Yale 6:43.59
Wisconsin 6:43.92

Grand Final
Stanford 6:26.34
Brown 6:28.92
California 6:32.28
Ohio State 6:33.48
Virginia 6:37.28
Southern California 6:37.93

Varsity Four
Third-Level Final
Michigan State 7:28.50
Radcliffe 7:32.72
Clemson 7:34.71
Dartmouth 7:40.83

Petite Final
Brown 7:17.67
Ohio State 7:18.32
Princeton 7:19.24
Washington State 7:24.00
Michigan 7:26.72
Yale 7:29.57

Grand Final
California 7:08.96
Virginia 7:10.55
Southern California 7:12.37
Washington 7:18.36
Wisconsin 7:18.57
Stanford 7:19.52