Radcliffe Lightweight Eight Places Fourth; Four Earns IRA Medal
CAMDEN, N.J.—The Radcliffe lightweight varsity eight placed fourth at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships, while the varsity four took bronze for the Black and White's first IRA medal in five years Saturday morning on the Cooper River.
The varsity eight grand final was a four-boat race for three medals. It was Stanford and Wisconsin battling for the lead early, with Radcliffe and Princeton a half-length behind. By 1,000 meters, Stanford had built a lead on the field and the Black and White was third, a couple seats ahead of Wisconsin.
The Badgers moved into third place in the third 500 meters and held off Radcliffe for bronze by barely two seconds. The Black and White finished five second closer to Wisconsin than it did at Eastern Sprints, while gaining three seconds on Princeton and finishing eight seconds before fifth-place Bucknell. Defending-champion Stanford held off the Tigers by three-fifths of a second to take the national title.
"I'm tremendously proud," head coach Heather Cartwright said. "They tried their hardest and went as hard as they could today. They left everything out on the course. We've had lineup changes and sickness in our boat, and I'm proud of the way they rallied and battled adversity."
After 500 meters of the varsity four race, Radcliffe was level with Stanford and Loyola (Md.) with all three boats trailing Wisconsin. The Black and White edged out to a margin of three-quarters of a length for second place in the second 500. The Cardinal increased its stroke rating in the third 500 and caught Radcliffe just before the final 500 meters. Loyola challenged in the final quarter of the race, but Radcliffe finished strong to take third in 7:40.838, crossing 3.5 seconds behind Wisconsin and 2.4 back of Stanford.
"That was our first IRA medal since 2006," Cartwright noted. "So it was an exciting moment for our program. We have great depth, and that showed it. That boat was made up of athletes from our second varsity, and they hadn't rowed together more than three times due to injury."
Loyola (Md.) 7:42.424