Two Harvard Boats Advance to Grand Finals: V8 Wins First Heat

Two Harvard Boats Advance to Grand Finals: V8 Wins First Heat
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Sacramento, Calif. – Two Harvard heavyweight boats advanced directly to the grand finals, while the varsity eight won its heat to move on to the semifinals in the first day of action at the 107th IRA National Championships on Lake Natoma Thursday.


Third-seeded Harvard joined No. 1 California, No. 2 Stanford and No. 4 Washington as winners of their heats in the varsity eight and move on to the semifinals tomorrow morning.  Boston University, Brown, Cornell and Wisconsin also advanced directly to the semis with their second-place showings.


Brown jumped out early and gained a three-seat lead over the Crimson in third heat. The Bears increased its advantage to six seats by the 500 meter mark. Harvard held off Syracuse who was gaining on both crews. With the move, the Crimson cut into the Bears lead and pulled even halfway through the race. Harvard and Brown increased its pace to 37 strokes per minute and moved away from the Orangemen. The Crimson made a huge push with 200 meters to go, rowing as high as 43, and took a two-seat lead with 50 meters remaining and held that position thru the finish line. Harvard completed the 2,000 meter course in 5:54.20, Brown clocked in at 5:56.18, while Syracuse was third in 6:05.18. Only top-seed California had a faster time than the Crimson. The Golden Bears finished in 5:51.50.


The freshman eight recovered from a slow start to win its heat and advance directly to the Saturday’s grand final. Navy took an early lead in the race with California and Harvard trailing. California pulled away and the Crimson followed as both crews put a length of distance between them and the field halfway through the race. The Crimson used several moves during the second 1,000 meters to cut into the Golden Bears lead. With 250 meters to go, the Crimson was a third of a length back but pressed, rowing at 39, to pull even with Cal and then took the lead with just under 50 meters left to row. Harvard held on for the win, clocking in at 6:01.8. The Golden Bears came in at 6:04.10, followed by Syracuse at 6:11.10. Only Washington had a faster time, completing the court in 5:58.10. The grand final will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. (EST).


The Crimson won the varsity four, holding off Yale at the finish line. Florida Institute of Technology and Yale battled it out over the first 1,000 meters before Harvard used a strong push throughout the middle of the course to gain on the leaders. The Crimson was less than a second behind the Yale with 500 meters to go and used a strong finish to move into the lead. Harvard clocked in at 6:54.50, followed by the Bulldogs in 6:56.53 and FIT in 7:01.71. The Crimson will compete in the grand final scheduled for Saturday at 12:24 p.m. (EST).


In the second varsity eight, where the winner advanced to Saturday’s grand final, the Crimson finished second behind Washington in its morning heat. Washington led from start to finish, while the Crimson battled with Stanford early on for the second position. The Huskies continued to move away from the field, while the Crimson increased the gap between it and the Cardinal. By the 1,000 meter mark, the Crimson held a three-quarter length lead over Stanford, but was too far behind the Huskies to make up ground. Harvard finished in 6:04.32, while the Huskies crossed the line in 5:57.84. The Crimson will race in the repechage Friday morning with the winner moving on to the grand final.


Harvard’s open four was fifth in its heat with a time of 7:05.02. Navy and Washington pulled away from the field early, while Princeton, Syracuse and Harvard had to play catch up. The Crimson battled with the Orangemen and Tigers for the third spot, but was held off at the finish line. Harvard will race in the repechage Friday morning with the winner moving on to the grand final.


Racing gets underway at 11 a.m. (EST) with the women's lightweight eight heats. Harvard will begin action with the repechages for the open fours.