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Radcliffe Makes 2011-12 Debut at Head of the Housatonic

SHELTON, Conn.—The Radcliffe crews put in a strong showing in their first competitive action of the 2011-12 academic year at the Head of the Housatonic on Saturday.

It was a busy day for the Black and White heavyweights, with multiple entries in both the collegiate four and collegiate eight events, including the runner-up in each. Radcliffe lightweight boats held their own against heavyweight competition, finishing sixth and ninth of 16 in the eight event.

Saturday's racing was Radcliffe's lone competition before much of the rowing world converges on the Harvard campus for the Head of the Charles Regatta, the world's largest two-day rowing event, Oct. 22-23.

In the collegiate eight race, Radcliffe heavyweight boats placed second and third, trailing only the top entry from Yale. The runner-up Black and White entry finished the 2.7-mile course in 16:10.9, while the third-place group reached the finish in 16:19.9, about two seconds faster than fourth-place Williams and the second Yale boat. Radcliffe's other heavyweight eight finished eighth in 16:54.5.

The fastest Radcliffe lightweight boat to the line finished sixth in 16:27.7, topping the third Yale boat by 12.8 seconds. The second group of Black and White lightweights posted a time of 17:30.1 to finish ninth, ahead of seven boats in the field filled with heavyweight squads.

"The two lightweight eights had a good row on a beautiful day, and the athletes felt they had a solid race in preparation for the Head of the Charles," Michiel Bartman said following his first race as lightweight head coach. "They are all very excited to race the biggest fall race of the year."

The heavyweights earlier raced as fours. Radcliffe showcased its depth in that race, with the second-, third- and fourth-fastest boats among 15 entries . The Black and White posted a runner-up time of 18:13.4, with only Yale posting a better mark. Radcliffe's other boats earned times of 18:15.8 and 18:40.5.

"It was a beautiful day, and it was great to get one round of racing in before the Head of the Charles," added assistant heavyweight coach Cory Bosworth. ''We know what things we have to work on before we race again on our home course in two weeks."