Radcliffe Lightweights Ready for IRA National Championships
CAMDEN, N.J.—Coming off a bronze-medal varsity showing at Eastern Sprints, the Radcliffe lightweight crew seeks to earn more medals when it competes at the 109th Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships Friday and Saturday on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J.
Cox: Maryana Vrubel, 8: Erika McCormick, 7: Katherine Mallett, 6: Emma Lukasiewicz, 5: Lizzy Bates, 4: Lillian Alexander, 3: Kelly McCarthy, 2: Marissa Reichel, 1: Julia Mason
There was no women's crew action Thursday, the opening day of the IRA regatta. The women's lightweight varsity eight heats are Friday at 8:30 a.m., followed by the varsity four heats at 9. Radcliffe races in the first heat of each event.
The top two finishers in each heat advance to Saturday's grand finals, as do the top two in the Friday afternoon repechages. The varsity four grand final is at 8:21 a.m. Saturday, with the varsity eight grand final at 11.
Records and Rankings
The Radcliffe lightweight varsity eight is ranked fourth in the latest USRowing Collegiate Poll. The Black and White posted a 6-2 record, including two wins while racing as a four.
EAWRC Sprints Recap
The Black and White 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 May 15 on the Cooper River.
The Black and White placed third in the varsity eight and second in the varsity eight. 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 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.
Dual Season Recap
It has been a successful spring so far for Radcliffe, which split its top boat into a pair of fours to defeat Tulsa and MIT in a season-opening regatta. The team's lone road trip was a challenging one, and the Black and White responded, downing No. 5 Georgetown by about three-quarters of a boat length on the Potomac River to win the Class of 2004 Cup.
The competition did not get easier back home on the Charles. The conditions were equally tough, as Radcliffe's races against No. 2 Stanford were moved upstream and shortened due to strong winds and whitecap waves. The Cardinal won the varsity race and stayed closer to the Radcliffe second varsity than any other dual opponent, falling by 4.8 seconds. The Black and White varsity and second varsity eights downed the No. 7 Buffalo varsity a day later.
The Radcliffe varsity finished between top‑ranked Princeton and No. 6 Bucknell, topping the Bison by 13.4 seconds. The second varsity beat the Tigers by 12.7. The Black and White capped the dual campaign by taking three races and the Muri Cup from Cambridge neighbor MIT.
The Radcliffe lightweight varsity eight and varsity four posted fourth-place finishes in their grand finals at the 108th IRA regatta.
After reaching the grand final with a repechage win, the varsity eight held fifth place throughout the first 1,000 meters and pulled a length ahead of sixth-place Georgetown shortly after the race's midway point. The Black and White then turned its attention to fourth-place Bucknell. Radcliffe moved through the Bison and held them off by 1.2 seconds in a time of 6:43.715. The Black and White also avenged its heat loss to Georgetown by 5.6 seconds.
Stanford won the national championship by upsetting top-ranked, two-time defending champion Wisconsin with an event-record time of 6:28.209. Only Wisconsin and Stanford had better team performances than Radcliffe.
The Black and White has won five national championships, most recently in 1997, the last of three straight titles and the first determined at the IRA Regatta. Radcliffe won National Collegiate Rowing Championships crowns in 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1996 in Cincinnati.
The varsity eight has medaled in eight of its 14 IRA appearances. In only one of those years (2000) did the Black and White miss the grand final. Radcliffe has placed fourth or better in three of the last four seasons, eight of the last nine seasons and 12 of its 14 overall appearances.
Head coach Heather Cartwright is in her second year guiding the Black and White lightweights, having led Radcliffe to Sprints medals in each of the last two years. Before arriving at Radcliffe, she coached the Boston University heavyweight varsity four to a silver medal at the 2006 Sprints and two years earlier guided the Princeton second varsity eight to a bronze medal. She came to Radcliffe with 15 years of coaching experience, on the high-school, club, collegiate, provincial and national‑team levels.
Former Radcliffe heavyweight captain Carrie Morelock '07 is in her third season assisting Cartwright.
Seniors Leah Schwartz (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Natalie Wong (Mill Valley, Calif.) are the captains of the Black and White lightweight squad. Schwartz joined Radcliffe as a novice rower during her freshman year and finished this season as part of the second varsity eight. Wong came to Harvard as a two-time youth national medalist and has rowed in the varsity eight in each of the four years since.
The Varsity Eight
Senior Lizzy Bates (Tenants Harbor, Maine) is racing in the varsity eight at the IRA regatta for the fourth straight year, while Marissa Reichel (Weston, Mass.) is in her third season in Radcliffe's varsity. Kelly McCarthy (Los Gatos, Calif.), Emma Lukasiewicz (Toronto, Ont.) and Erika McCormick (Lower Gwnedd, Pa.) also return from last year's varsity boat. Coxswain Maryana Vrubel (Millbury, Mass.) raced in the varsity four last season. Lillian Alexander (Cabot, Vt.) and Katherine Mallett (Dover, Mass.) are making their IRA debuts.
The Varsity Four
Elizabeth Hamilton (Newton, Mass.) and coxswain Jana Douglas (Belle Mead, N.J.) raced in the varsity eight in the 2010 IRA regatta. Sophomores Erin Flynn (Rose Valley, Pa.) Emiko Zumbro (Oakland, Calif.) and freshman Devi Lockwood (Ridgefield, Conn.).
A Family Tradition
Radcliffe's last IRA medal came in 2006, when Sarah Bates '06, older sister of current Black and White senior Lizzy Bates, was the stroke of the varsity eight and the team captain.