National Title Quest Starts Thursday for Crimson Heavyweight Crew

The Crimson looks to celebrate one more regatta win in its collegiate season.
The Crimson looks to celebrate one more regatta win in its collegiate season.

Schedule | Day 1 Heat Sheet | Seeds

Harvard IRA Media Notes

CAMDEN, N.J.—Harvard's unbeaten heavyweight crew to cap a perfect collegiate season with a national title at the 109th Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships this weekend on the Cooper River.

The Crimson heavyweight varsity eight, second varsity eight and freshman eight all won their events at Eastern Sprints and completed flawless dual seasons with wins against the rival Bulldogs in the 146th Harvard-Yale Regatta. Those boats, along with the open and varsity fours, compete in heats Thursday morning, looking to advance to semifinals Friday and finals Saturday.

Follow From Home
A live, four-camera video stream of the racing can be found here. An audio webcast is available here.

Probable Lineups
Varsity Eight
Cox: Chris Kingston, 8: Patrick Lapage, 7: Jason Phillips, 6: Nick Jordan, 5: Matthew Edstein,  4: Anthony Locke, 3: Michael DiSanto, 2: Josh Hicks, 1: James O'Connor

Second Varsity Eight
Cox: David Fuller, 8: Peter Scholle, 7: Justin Mundt, 6: Benjamin French, 5: Elihu Reynolds, 4: David Wakulich, 3: Jack Morrissey, 2: Parker Washburn, 1: JP Hogan

Freshman Eight
Cox: William Hakim, 8: Andrew Holmes, 7: Jake Sobstyl, 6: Caspar Jopling, 5: Gregory Edwards, 4: Max Monfared, 3: Andrew Reed, 2: Ben Lynton, 1: Jamie Law-Smith

Open Four
Cox: Alex Sopko, 4: Phil Matthews, 3: Conner Griffith, 2: Alex Macintosh, 1: Nick Jaroszewicz

Varsity Four
Cox: Katherine Caputo, 4: Mihailo Malowany, 3: Alex Soutter, 2: Andrew Stein, 1: David Paresky

Last Season
The heavyweight second varsity pulled away from the bottom half of the field in its grand final, beating fourth-place Wisconsin by 3.9 seconds to take the bronze medal as Washington edged Brown for the event win. The Harvard varsity eight crossed the line four-fifths of a second after third-place Cornell and finished 7.2 seconds back of the winning California crew that edged Washington and missed the course record by about one-fifth of a second. The Crimson also placed fourth as a team, trailing Washington, Cal and Cornell.

Harvard's Eastern-champion freshman eight also raced in its grand final, placing fifth. The Crimson won the open four petite final and varsity four third‑level final.

Team Strength
In the four IRA events in which Harvard regularly competes during the season (heavy varsity, second varsity and freshman eights; light varsity eight), Harvard's boats own a combined 30-0 dual-racing record and added eight other race wins and four gold medals at Sprints.

The Crimson won five of the six major races at Sprints, totaled six gold medals and claimed the heavyweight and lightweight Ivy League championships. It was the 13th time Harvard has won gold in both varsity eight races, a feat accomplished only four times by non-Harvard crews. The Crimson won five major races for the sixth time.

Planting Seeds
The Harvard heavyweight varsity eight (7-0 dual record) is seeded third, behind only Washington and California, and is the first of nine straight Eastern teams occupying the third to 11th seeds. The Crimson freshman eight (8-0) and second varsity eight (6-0) are seeded second behind Cal and Washington, respectively. The Crimson lightweight varsity (9-0) enters with a No. 1 national ranking.

Not Done Yet
The IRA regatta marks the end of Harvard's collegiate season, but both the Crimson heavyweight and lightweight teams will send boats to compete in the Henley Royal Regatta June 29-July 3 in Henley-on-Thames, England. The Harvard heavyweight varsity eight won the Ladies' Challenge Plate last year at Henley.

Crimson Champions
Three of the Harvard heavyweights' nine official national championships have come at the IRA regatta: 2003, '04 and '05. The Crimson lightweights have won seven IRA titles. The only schools to sweep the IRA heavy and light crowns are Harvard in 2003 and Princeton in 1998.

Heavyweight IRA History
The first IRA regatta took place 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, in 1995, when it placed fourth in a race won by Brown on the Cooper River.

After an eight-year absence, Harvard returned again in 2003, claiming 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 followed with varsity and team titles in each of the next two seasons. Harvard has also captured IRA gold in the 2004 freshman four, the 2006 second varsity eight and varsity four without coxswain and the 2008 open four events.

A Grand Tradition
In the eight years since returning to the IRA regatta, the Crimson heavyweight varsity has reached the grand final seven times. Harvard tied Stanford for second place in 2007 for its most recent varsity medal.

The Harvard heavyweight varsity eight has defeated its last 13 and 27 of its last 28 dual opponents. The Crimson freshman eight has defeated 35 straight dual opponents since falling to Yale to close the 2006 season.

Heavyweight Varsity Eight
Five oarsmen finish the season in the varsity eight for the second straight year: senior Anthony Locke and juniors Patrick Lapage (Shrewsbury, England), Nick Jordan (Princeton, N.J.), Matthew Edstein (Sydney, Australia) and Michael DiSanto (Boston, Mass.).

The remaining three rowers were part of the 2010 Sprints-winning Crimson freshman boat: Jason Phillips (London, England), Josh Hicks (Waterford, Australia) and James O'Connor (Christchurch, New Zealand). Senior coxswain Chris Kingston (Bedford, England) guided the 2009 varsity to a runner-up Sprints finish and fourth-place IRA showing.

Ivy League Champion
Harvard's Sprints win secured the Ivy League championship for the Crimson and first-team All-Ivy League honors for the members of the varsity eight. It was the second straight first-team All-Ivy nod earned by each of the five returning oarsmen. Anthony Locke and Chris Kingston were second-team honorees in 2009. David Wakulich (St. Catherines, Ont.) was a second‑team performer in 2009 and a first-teamer last season.

Figure Eights
Harvard entered heavyweight eights in 24 events in this year's dual regattas and won each race. In its nine total Sprints heats and finals, the Crimson won eight races and placed second in the other.

Returning Medalists
Four Harvard athletes return after winning second varsity bronze in 2010. Benjamin French (Pittsford, N.Y.) and Elihu Reynolds (Queensbury, N.Y.) are in this year's second varsity, while Phil Matthews (Sydney Australia) and Conner Griffith (Lake Oswego, Ore.) are in the open four.

International Influence
Twenty-one of Harvard's heavyweight athletes competing at the IRA regatta hail from outside United States. The countries represented are the United Kingdom (10), Canada (5), Australia (3), New Zealand (3).

Four of the Crimson's nine heavyweight varsity athletes are English, and Nick Jordan was schooled at Eton College before coming to Harvard. Five members of the freshman eight are from the United Kingdom.

Best in Mass
Four members of the Sprints-champion second varsity eight hail from Harvard's home state of Massachusetts. There are two Massachusetts natives in the freshman eight and one in the varsity eight.