No. 13 Radcliffe Heavyweight Crew Heads to Inaugural Ivy Championship

The Radcliffe varsity eight, shown defeating Dartmouth earlier, will face additional strong Ivy opposition Sunday.
The Radcliffe varsity eight, shown defeating Dartmouth earlier, will face additional strong Ivy opposition Sunday.

The No. 13 Radcliffe heavyweight crew will race in the inaugural Ivy League Women's Rowing Championship Sunday on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. The event will be run in conjunction with the women's Eastern Sprints. Racing begins at 8 a.m., with the heavyweight varsity eight grand final coming at 5:05 p.m.

Schedule (PDF) | Official Site

Follow From Home
Live audio of the racing will be available here, and live results will be here.

A New Championship Regatta
The Ivy League is conducting its first women's rowing championship event after a 37-year history of determining its champion at the Eastern Association of Women's Rowing Colleges Sprints. The Ivy champion is determined by the top finisher in the varsity eight event. Ivy League squads had won the last 19 Sprints championships.

Records and Rankings
The Radcliffe heavyweight varsity eight, which last medaled with a runner-up Sprints finish in 2009, is seeded fourth this season. The second varsity owns a 12-3 record and the No. 2 seed in the league, behind only Princeton.

The varsity four A (11-4) is seeded fourth, while the varsity four B (10-1) trails only Yale, which was the only team it lost to in the dual season. The varsity four C (2-0) is the top-seeded boat in its division, and the third varsity eight (3-6) is ranked sixth in the league. The Black and White will also enter a D four in the varsity four C race.

Probable Boatings
Varsity Eight
Cox:  Jill Carlson, 8: Michelle Pearson,  7: Lucy Grinalds, 6: Liz Soutter,  5: Mimi Tanski,  4: Courtney Diekema, 3: Jenna Gregoire, 2: Scout Moran, 1: Mary Maginnis

Second Varsity Eight
Cox: Greer Rosenbaum, 8: Katie Wilcox, 7: Elizabeth Fitzhenry,   6: Deva Steketee, 5: Jessica Mealia, 4: Anne Carroll Ingersoll, 3: Marisa D'Orsogna, 2:  Eliza Flint, 1: Christina McClintock

Varsity Four A
Cox: Jorie Sullivan, 4: Kelly Bauer, 3: Laura Savarese, 2: Kristen Faulkner, 1: Kirsten Van Fossen

Varsity Four B
Cox: Jenny Wong, 4: Meg Kehan, 3: Caitlin Fai, 2: Nina Kosaric, 1: Maura Church

Third Varsity Eight
Cox: McKenna Kardish, 8: Maddy Berg, 7: Eliza Maclean,  6: Susannah Maybank, 5: Taylor Compton, 4: Katherine Ingersoll, 3: Morgan Keefe, 2: Ellie Parker, 1: Ronit Malka

Varsity Four C
Cox: Victoria Lellis, 4: Jenna Anglin, 3: Shauna Stewart, 2: Brooke Carter, 1: Sidney Hilker

Varsity Four D
Cox: Christine Hu, 4: Katie Lix, 3: Theresa Gebert, 2: Louise Decoppet, 1: Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Dual Season Recap
The Black and White has shown off its depth against a schedule featuring eight of the teams currently ranked in the nation's top 20. The varsity eight (9-6) has won a pair of trophies and put together a winning record against some of the fastest boats in the country, while the second varsity eight and top three fours have gone a combined 35-8.

The season started how previous dual campaigns have ended, with the Beanpot regatta pitting Radcliffe against neighbors Boston College, Boston Unviersity, MIT and Northeastern. The result was the same as it has often been. The Black and White won four of five races to continue its team dominance over the six years of the event and take the varsity title for the fifth time.

Head-to-head racing brought even tougher competition. No. 7 Brown took the varsity race from Radcliffe, but the Black and White won its other three events against the host Bears. Radcliffe logged a win and two runner-up finishes against host Princeton, Cornell and Columbia. The No. 6 Tigers won the Class of 1975 Cup, while runner-up Columbia, third-place Radcliffe and Cornell were separated by a total of 1.8 seconds.

The Black and White captured the O'Leary Cup with a 1.4-second win against Dartmouth and third-place Syracuse to start a five-race sweep. A week later, the second varsity had Radcliffe's only win at Yale. Radcliffe finished its dual season in Columbus, Ohio, where the Black and White varsity and second varsity eights and varsity four finished second in each of their six total races against No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 19 Clemson. The Radcliffe varsity finished just 1.26 seconds behind the Buckeyes in its first race.

Heavyweight Hardware
The top varsity finisher wins the Ivy title and accompanying Sally P. Shoemaker Trophy. Radcliffe has won seven Ivy League titles: 1974, '75, '82 (shared with Princeton), '86, '87, '89 and 2003. 

Last Season
The Radcliffe heavyweight crew raced in four grand finals and placed fifth in the varsity eight and team competitions at Sprints last season. The second varsity eight and varsity four B joined the varsity eight as fifth-place finishers. The varsity four A placed sixth in its grand final, and the third varsity eight took second in the petite final.

Ivy League boats earned each of the six qualifying spots in the varsity eight grand final. Radcliffe trailed only Yale in its heat and gained ground on the Bulldogs with a time of 6:34.85 in the final, but Yale outlasted Radcliffe for fourth place by one-fifth of a second.

Radcliffe Heavyweight Sprints Titles
The Black and White won the 2003 EAWRC Sprints team title on the way to the NCAA national championship. The heavyweight varsity eight has won five Sprints titles in program history: 1974 (recognized as the first Ivy League title event for women), '75, '87, '89 and 2003. The second varsity eight won titles in 1975, '76 and '92, while the varsity four won in 1994. The novice eight won in 1989 and '97, and the second novices won in 1993, '94, '97 and 2009.

National Aspirations
The Radcliffe heavyweights are seeking a trip back to New Jersey, for what would be their 14th appearance in the 16-year history of the NCAA Championships. The NCAA will invite 16 full teams (with no at-large varsity eights) to the regatta, which will be held May 25-27 on Mercer Lake in West Windsor. The Black and White varsity eight won the third-level final for 13th place, part of a 14th-place team finish at the 2011 NCAA regatta. Five of the eight Ivy schools rowed in last year's NCAA Championships.

The Varsity Eight
The Radcliffe varsity boat is steered by four-year varsity coxswain Jill Carlson (Weston, Mass.), who guided the Black and White to a silver medal at Sprints in 2009. Four rowers return from last season's varsity. Senior Liz Soutter (Toronto, Ont.) and juniors Mary Maginnis (Maple Glen, Pa.) and Michelle Pearson (Pembroke, Bermuda) are in the varsity for the third year, while Scout Moran (San Rafael, Calif.) is rowing in the varsity for the second straight season.

New to the varsity eight are junior Courtney Diekema (Holland, Mich.), sophomore Jenna Gregoire (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and a pair of freshmen, Lucy Grinalds (Southport, Conn.) and Mimi Tanski (Lexington, Mass.). Carlson, Diekema and Gregoire have been invited to the USRowing Women's Under 23 National Team Camp this summer.