CAMDEN, N.J.—The Radcliffe lightweight crew overcame injury-forced, last-minute changes to all three of its lineups to medal in the top two races and place second as a team in the Eastern Association of Women's Rowing Colleges Sprints Championships Sunday on the Cooper River.
The Black and White placed third in the varsity eight and second in the varsity eight, matching last season's finish in each of those events as well as the team competition. The results came despite an injury in the varsity eight that forced an athlete to move up from each of the other boats.
Only Wisconsin finished ahead of Radcliffe in the team competition for the Ulbrich Trophy. The Black and White totaled 26 points, seven fewer than Wisconsin and equal to Princeton's total.
"I thought the whole team equipped themselves really well," head coach Heather Cartwright said. "We had new lineups in every event, and the girls just went for it and did their best. Everyone just stepped up without any complaints and performed very well. I'm really proud of how they came together and were able to do that."
The varsity eight rowed a solid opening 1,000 meters, racing with leader Princeton and ahead of Wisconsin. The Tigers and Badgers got the better of the Black and White in the second half of the race, but Radcliffe finished in 6:41.59, more than six seconds ahead of fourth-place Bucknell and more than 10 ahead of Georgetown. Princeton won in 6:30.39.
One key to Radcliffe's performance was freshman Katherine Mallett, who joined the varsity eight for the first time. Her boatmates' trust in the rookie eased the transition and helped the Black and White end the day on the medal dock.
The second varsity eight, meanwhile, finished second in 7:01.69, more than six seconds ahead of Princeton. Wisconsin won in 6:50.08.
Senior co-captain Leah Schwartz, recently sidelined with an injury, made the trip to New Jersey not expecting to compete but stepped in to make an impact in the varsity four. The boat was competitive and earned crucial points in the team contest, placing fourth in 8:22.98.
The team now turns its attention to the IRA National Championships, to be held June 2-4 back on the Cooper River. Radcliffe is ranked fourth nationally and is coming off a fourth-place IRA finish last season.
"The first varsity is very excited to get back to training and improving their performance for IRAs," Cartwright said. We were happy with the first part of the race today, and we're optimistic we'll be able to improve on the second half."
Second Varsity Eight
Wisconsin A 7:39.46
Wisconsin B 7:57.96