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Radcliffe Lightweights Place Fourth at IRA National Championships

 Photo courtesy Jacquie Labatt

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SACRAMENTO, Calif.-The Radcliffe lightweight varsity eight finished fourth in the grand final of the 107th Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships Saturday on Lake Natoma.

The Black and White held fourth throughout the race, surging late in an effort to catch Bucknell and Stanford, but the Bison held off Radcliffe while passing the Cardinal for second place. Wisconsin won its fifth national championship in the last six years.

Radcliffe finished one position ahead of its No. 5 ranking, posted its second fourth-place national finish in the last three years and improved two spots on last season's sixth-place finish. It was the Black and White's 11th top-four finish in the 13 years the IRA regatta has determined the women's lightweight national champion.

The Black and White varsity eight was made up of Grace Hollowell, captain Rebekah Kharrazi, Lizzy Bates, Amanda Pfabe, Marissa Reichel, Natalie Wong, Wynne Evans and Laurel Gabard-Durnam and coxswain Jana Douglas.

"I was really proud of the way our team handled itself this weekend and bounced back after Sprints," said first-year head coach Heather Cartwright, whose crew beat two teams it trailed at the Eastern championships. "It was a turnaround year for our young team. We had a really solid season and finished with something to build on next year and in the future."

Stanford, Wisconsin and Bucknell slightly separated themselves from rest of the six-crew field early on. The Cardinal was the first to take a lead, but the heavily favored Badgers had gone ahead by 500 meters into the race. Radcliffe, meanwhile, sat a half-length back of third-place Bucknell, two seats ahead of Georgetown.

Wisconsin asserted itself in the second 500, going up more than two seconds on Stanford by the midway point. Bucknell had built a boat-length lead on Radcliffe, with Princeton and Georgetown battling for fifth about 2.5 seconds behind the Black and White.

Radcliffe fell nearly six seconds behind the medalists with 500 meters to go but, as in Friday's heat, turned it up down the stretch. Only Wisconsin was faster in the final 500, as the Black and White clocked a split of 1:45.20 for a final time of 7:10.2. Radcliffe was 5.7 seconds faster than Stanford in the last 500, but the Cardinal had built up enough of a cushion to hold on by more than two seconds.

The Badgers posted a winning time of 6:56.256, while Bucknell surged past Stanford to beat the Cardinal by less than a quarter-second. Georgetown outdueled Princeton, taking fifth by almost two seconds. Radcliffe finished nearly five seconds ahead of the Hoyas and close to seven ahead of the rival Tigers.

Both Princeton and Georgetown entered the weekend ranked ahead of Radcliffe, after defeating the Black and White at Eastern Sprints May 17. The Black and White previously posted dual wins against both teams and defeated the Hoyas in Friday's heat.

MIT won the petite final. The Engineers held a three-second lead after 500 meters and built on it throughout the race to win by 10 seconds, in 7:21.488, and claim seventh place overall.

Grand Final

Wisconsin 6:56.256

Bucknell 7:07.706

Stanford 7:07.934

Radcliffe 7:10.200

Georgetown 7:15.055

Princeton 7:16.982          

 

Petite Final

MIT 7:21.488

Tulsa 7:31.448