Varsity Eights Head to California for National Championhips

Varsity Eights Head to California for National Championhips

The Regatta

The 2009 IRA National Championships will be held at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif., June 4-6.


Harvard heavyweight crew will compete in five races at the national championships, while the lightweight varsity eight will compete in the only lightweight event at the regatta. 


The Crew Calendar

The EARC Sprints took place a week earlier than in 2007 and 2008, giving the Crimson and the rest of the EARC crews an extra week to train and prepare for the national championships.


The Automatic Bid

Harvard heavyweight and lightweight crews received automatic bids to the IRA National Championships based on their performances at the EARC Sprints last month.


For the first time in the history of the IRA, crews had to qualify or be invited to the regatta. The IRAs are also being held on the West Coast for the first time in the 107 years of the event.


Sprints Recap

Both the heavyweight and lightweight varsity eights finished second in their respective races at the EARC Sprints last month.


The lightweights won the Jope Cup as team champions for the 20th time in program history. Harvard claimed gold in the third varsity eight, silver in the varsity eight and freshman eight and bronze in the second varsity eight and freshman eight. The Crimson claimed the team trophy for the third in the last six years.


The heavyweights were second in the Rowe Cup standings after all five boats qualified for the grand final. The freshman  eight and third varsity eight won silver as well, while the second freshman eight was third and the second varsity eight was fifth.


Back in the Boathouse

Senior Mortiz Hafner (Switzerland) and Blake Puscek (Canada) took last year off from Harvard to train in their home countries for the 2008 Olympics in Bejiing. 


An Odd Year

The Harvard lightweights have won seven national titles. All seven titles came in years that ended with an odd number.


Six of the heavyweight’s nine national crowns have also came in a year that ended with an odd number.


Count ’Em Up

Fifteen Harvard rowers who are competing at the IRAs this year won a medal at the event in 2008. Four of them won gold (open four), one silver (pair) and 10 bronze (freshman eight, open four and four without coxswain).


The Last Time Here

Harvard picked up five medals at the 106th IRA National Championships last year in New Jersey.  The Crimson underclassmen from both the heavyweight and lightweight programs contributed to the five medals brought back to Newell Boathouse.


The Crimson won gold and bronze in the open four as 10 underclassmen stood on the podium in Harvard jerseys. The freshman eight picked up a bronze medal, while the men’s pair and four without coxswain won a silver and bronze, respectively.


Heavyweights: Dual Racing Recap

The varsity eight and second varsity eight began their 2009 campaign on the West Coast at the San Diego Crew Classic. The Crimson took third in both their races, falling to California and Washington in both events.


Harvard’s varsity eight won all four of its regattas over the four weeks leading up to Sprints. In fact, the Crimson swept all five races in two of those dual regattas. The varsity eight sports a 6-0 record. The closest race was against Brown for the Stein Cup. The Bears used a strong finishing sprint to close the gap against the Crimson and finished less than a second behind Harvard.


The freshman eight is also unbeaten in dual racing this season with a 6-0 dual racing record, while the second varsity eight is 3-2. The third varsity eight is 3-0 against other third varsity boats.


The Unbeaten

The varsity eight will look to finish off an undefeated dual campaign when it races Yale in the 144th Harvard-Yale Regatta June 13. The Crimson has gone undefeated 19 times under Harry Parker, but has not done so since 2005.  Harvard came close in 2007, winning four of its five regattas. Yale pulled off the upset in the 142nd edition of the Regatta with one of the closest finishes in series history, 0.5- second margin.


The Polls

Harvard varsity eight ranks third in the IRA Coaches Poll released June 1. The Crimson stands behind California and Stanford and is followed by Wisconsin, Washington and Brown.


The Crimson is also ranked third in the freshman eight and sixth in the second varsity eight.


IRAs ... A Heavyweight History Lesson

The IRA Regatta took place for the first time in 1895 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.  Harvard first rowed at the IRAs in 1896, placing second to Cornell and ahead of Penn and Columbia in a race on the Hudson River. The Crimson raced again in 1897 but did not come back for almost 100 years.  The Crimson returned to IRAs in 1995, when it placed fourth in a race won by Brown here on the Cooper River.


After a short eight-year absence, Harvard returned again in 2003, when it won the Varsity Challenge Cup with an open-water victory over Washington.  That helped propel the Crimson to the Ten Eyck Cup, representative of overall team supremacy. 


The Crimson was impressive again in 2004, posting an open-water victory in the Varsity Challenge Cup over Washington. The depth of the program – producing a silver medal in the JV and freshman races, as well as a gold in the freshman four – produced Harvard’s second Ten Eyck trophy in as many seasons.


The dominance continued in 2005 with a come-from-behind win in the Varsity Challenge Cup over Princeton and California for Harvard’s third-straight title. With a little help from the freshman eight taking the silver in the grand final, the second varsity winning the petite final and the freshman four with coxswain taking the bronze, the Crimson took home the Ten Eyck Cup for the third time in a row.


The Hardware

The varsity eight competes for the Varsity Challenge Cup, which was first presented in 1898. Harvard has won the cup three times. The second varsity competes for the Kennedy Challenge Cup, originally presented in 1899. The Crimson claimed the cup for the first time in 2006. The freshman men race for the Steward’s Cup, first awarded in 1900. The Ten Eyck Cup is presented to the university that amasses the largest number of points. First presented in 1952, the Crimson has won the trophy three times (2003, 2004, 2005). 


All-Ivy League Honors

Nine members of the Harvard varsity eight were named second-team All-Ivy League after earning a silver medal at the EARC Sprints May 10 in Worcester, Mass.


Chris Kingston (cox), Simon Gawlik (stroke), Anthony Locke (seven), David Wakulich (six), Henrik Rummel (five), Richard Anderson (four), James Bayley (three), Blake Pucsek (two) and Noah Bruegmann (bow) made up the Crimson varsity eight.


Gawlik and Rummel earned conference honors for the second time as they were first-team selections in 2007.


...And More Honors

Junior Noah Bruegmann was named Academic All-Ivy League for his efforts on the water and in the classroom.  Bruegmann is a chemistry and physics concentrator. He was one of the five men chosen from Harvard.


The Varsity Eight

The current varsity eight line-up is unbeaten in dual racing and finished second at Sprints. Harvard mentor Harry Parker made a change in the line-up after the West Coast trip and since then, the boat has gone 6-0.


The varsity eight boat is made up of three seniors, three juniors and three sophomores, including the coxswain. Two members of the boat were in the 2007 boat that won gold at the Sprints and silver at IRAs.


The 1V has an international flare as six members of the boat hail from outside the United States. Two rowers and the coxswain hail from Europe (England and Germany) ,while three come from Canada.


The Second Varsity Eight

Harry Parker has again made changes to its second varsity eight after a fifth-place finish at Sprints. The 2V went 3-2 in dual racing. Sophomore Ben French, who won a bronze medal at the IRAs as a freshman moves into the stroke seat, replacing senior Sam Kenary and senior William Rueter returns to the boat to replace classmate Tom Fleming.


Rueter will row in the bow seat, while Duncan Gilchrist moves to the five seat, Mark Fuller moves from the two seat to six and John Stroh switches to the two seat from the six seat.


The Fours

Junior Kelly Evans and sophomore Ryan Bucke rowed in the gold-medal winning open four last year and will compete in the varsity four race this year. Junior Spencer Livingston, junior Ivan Posavec and sophomore Alex Soutter will join them.


The open four will be comprised of  sophomore Tian Feng, sophomore Conner Griffith, sophomore Phil Matthews, junior Karl Hirt and freshman Edward Winters-Donaldson.


IRAs ... A Lightweight History Lesson

The lightweights have been rowing at the IRA Regatta since 1990, when the event became the national championship for lightweight crew. Prior to competing at IRAs, the Crimson competed at the Empire State Regatta for the national title.


Harvard has won seven national titles since 1990 with the most recent coming in 2003.


The Crimson and six other varsity eights will compete for the 1992 Trophy. Cornell has won three straight IRA titles and is the only school to win back-to-back titles.


Lightweights: Dual Racing Recap

Princeton and Harvard make up the top two crews in the Ivy League, the EARC and the nation. The Tigers are the only team to beat the Crimson varsity eight this spring, as Harvard enters the weekend with an 8-1 dual racing record.


Harvard took on defending national champion Cornell and Penn in its first regatta of the spring. Due to dangerous wind, the crews raced on time instead of head-to-head. Harvard won by nine seconds over the Big Red in the first of four-straight dual race wins. The Crimson also beat Penn, Columbia and Georgetown that day.


The Crimson swept the next two regattas and won back the Biglin and Haines Cups after a one-year absence from Newell Boathouse.  In the final regatta of the season. Harvard beat Yale, but fell to Princeton in the Goldthwait Cup.


The second varsity eight sports a 5-3 record, while the freshman eight is 7-2 and the second freshman eight is 3-2. The Harvard freshman eight started the season off at 7-0.


In the Polls

Harvard ranks second in latest USRowing Collegiate Lightweight men’s varsity eight poll released May 20. The Crimson garnered one of the 11 first-place votes.


Breaking Down the Boat

Head coach Charley Butt has kept the same varsity eight all season long. The varsity eight is comprised of three sophomores, three juniors and three seniors. Jeff Overington and Mortiz Hafner are three-year members of the varsity boat, while Stephen Barchick and Martin Eiermann have spent two seasons in the Crimson’s top boat.


Like its counterpart on the heavyweight side, the lightweight varsity eight has several rowers from across the globe. Five members of the boat are from the United States, while the others are from Switzerland, South Africa, Germany and Canada.


Ivy League Honors

The varsity eight made its way back to the grand final at the EARC Sprints and onto the medal stand earning all nine members of the boat second-team All-Ivy League honors.


Dexter Louie (cox), Moritz Hafner (stroke), Jeff Overington (seven), Will Newell (six), Andrew Trott (five), Jared Dourdeville (four), Martin Eiermann (three), Stephen Barchick (two) and Michael Silvestri (bow) made up the Crimson varsity eight.

And More Honors
Sophomore Jared Dourdeville earned Academic All-Ivy League honors for his efforts on the water and in the classroom. Dourdeville is an engineering sciences concentrator. He was one of five Harvard men to me named to the team.