Strong Field Awaits Harvard Heavyweights in Season-Opening San Diego Crew Classic

Among Harvard's competitors for the Copley Cup will be Cal, which Harvard edged for second place at last season's IRA regatta.
Among Harvard's competitors for the Copley Cup will be Cal, which Harvard edged for second place at last season's IRA regatta.

The Harvard heavyweight varsity eight and second varsity eight begin the 2012 spring season facing top crews from across the nation at the San Diego Crew Classic, which gets underway Saturday on Mission Bay. The third varsity eight and freshman eights, meanwhile, will race at Cornell.

About the Crew Classic
A total of more than 3,400 collegiate, junior and masters athletes will travel to Mission Bay for the 39th renewal of the Crew Classic and compete in more than 100 races over Saturday and Sunday.

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Harvard Boatings
Varsity Eight
Cox: David Fuller, 8: Patrick Lapage, 7: Michael DiSanto, 6: Sam O'Connor, 5: Parker Washburn, 4: Caspar Jopling, 3: Josh Hicks, 2: Andrew Holmes, 1: James O'Connor

Second Varsity Eight
Cox: Alex Sopko, 8: Peter Scholle, 7: Ben Lynton, 6: Matthew Edstein, 5: Nick Jordan, 4: Jake Sobstyl, 3: Elihu Reynolds, 2: Jack Morrissey, 1: Max Monfared

Third Varsity Eight
Cox: William Hakim, 8: Matt Vincent, 7: Justin Mundt, 6: Jamie Law-Smith, 5: Nolan Pollock, 4: Alex Macintosh, 1: David Paresky, 2: Andrew Stein, 1: Andrew Hamm

Freshman Eight
Cox: Jack Smith, 8: Charlie Risbey, 7: James Medway, 6: Ed Rippon, 5: Max Meyer-Bosse, 4: Josh Bernstein, 3: Andrew Emmett, 2: Alex Uruchurtu, 1: Lachlan Hanbury-Brown 

Second Freshman Eight
Cox: Jessi Izhakoff, 8: Ryan Furey, 7: Owen Prunskis, 6: William Locke, 5: Daniel Hilhorst, 4: Andrew Crown, 3: Jan-Peter Bockstiegel, 2: Jack Freese, 1: Matt Weinstein

Harvard at the Crew Classic
The Crimson is racing in San Diego for the first time since 2009, when both the varsity and second varsity boats placed third. Harvard owns seven Crew Classic titles, the most of any school from the East Coast. Harvard has two titles from the Redwood Shores Invitational, giving the Crimson nine championships in West Coast regattas.

The Field
Harvard is coming off a runner-up finish in last season's Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships but will face other elite crews in San Diega. The 10-team varsity field racing for the Copley Cup features five teams that finished in the top 11 at last year's IRA regatta. The Crimson races in Lane 1 of the first heat at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time Saturday and will race against IRA petite final winner Cornell and petite final qualifier Navy. The second heat features IRA bronze medalist California and petite final qualifier Stanford. The Copley Cup grand final will be Sunday at 9:40 a.m.

The Crimson second varsity will race in Lane 1 of the second heat of the Sharp Cabrillo Cup event at 11:10 a.m. Saturday. Both Cornell, which will again race against Harvard in its heat, and Cal joined Harvard in the IRA second varsity grand final last year. The Sharp Cabrillo grand final is Sunday at 10 a.m.

Scouting the Crimson
Harvard begins 2012, its 50th season under renowned head coach Harry Parker, with lofty goals of repeating last season's 7-0 dual record, winning its third straight Eastern Sprints varsity title and competing for its first IRA national title since 2005. Led by senior captain Michael DiSanto, the Crimson returns six athletes who raced in last season's Eastern champion and IRA runner-up varsity. Those oarsmen are among 24 total athletes returning after contributing to Harvard's four IRA medals last season.

The Crimson translated that experience to success in the fall season. Harvard won the championship eight race at the Head of the Charles Regatta for the first time in 34 years and had varsity fours place first and second at the Foot of the Charles. The Crimson also won the Foot of the Charles freshman eight event.

Defending The Title
Click here to watch the Crimson's season preview video, part of the Defending The Title series.

Meanwhile, in Ithaca
The dual regatta pitting the Crimson third varsity, freshman and second freshman eights against the Big Red will begin at 9 a.m. on the Cayuga Lake Inlet. This is the third straight year Harvard has raced Cornell, with the Crimson sweeping the regatta to open each of the last two springs. Harvard's lineups for the racing at Cornell are available here.