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HENLEY-ON-THAMES, England—The Harvard heavyweight varsity eight will race for its eighth Ladies' Challenge Plate Sunday after defeating Molesey Boat Club and Oxford Brookes University in Saturday's Henley Royal Regatta semifinals on the Thames River.
The Harvard lightweight and Radcliffe heavyweight varsity eights suffered semifinal losses, as did the Crimson heavyweight four, ending outstanding regattas for each of those crews and championship seasons for the eights. All five Harvard/Radcliffe entries will finish Henley having won at least two races in the field of top crews from across the globe.
Former Crimson heavyweight coxswain Chris Kingston '11 coxed his Star Club four into the Britannia Challenge Cup final, while current Harvard lightweight Andrew Campbell and former Harvard heavyweight Michael Blomquist '03 fell in their semifinal matchups. Three other Crimson heavyweights lost in Grand Challenge Cup semifinals.
The Crimson varsity heavyweights will race Leander Club for their second Ladies' Plate in three years and their third in Harvard's last four visits to Henley. Harvard posted a 2.5-length win in 7:06 Saturday.
The national-champion Harvard lightweights fell to Washington's national-champion heavyweight freshman eight in the Temple Challenge Cup semifinals. The Huskies won by 1.75 lengths in 7:10, setting up a race with the Brown second varsity eight in Sunday's final. The Crimson completed its season unbeaten against collegiate lightweight competition, culminating in Eastern and national victories.
Ivy League champion Radcliffe could not get the better of Canada's Western Rowing Club entry, falling by 3.25 lengths, with the winning boat posting a time of 7:56. It was the final race of a season that saw the Black and White place ninth nationally at the NCAA Championships and finish second at the Henley Women's Regatta.
The Harvard heavyweight four, made up of members of the Crimson second varsity eight, finished just a half-length behind University of London A, the winner in 7:48. London led by as much as three-quarters of a length in the early-going, but the Crimson battled back and the crews rowed level for two minutes before London pulled it out at the end. The loss left the Crimson two wins shy of defending its title in the event.
"The four rowed a terrific race against the University of London's four best rowers," said heavyweight associate head coach Bill Manning. "And the varsity just rowed really, really well. They were racing against bigger oarsmen into a strong headwind and just did a fabulous job with the wind and were great with their bladework."
Kingston and Star Club cruised to a 4.5-length victory against the London Rowing Club in 7:56, booking a date with Taurus Boat Club in Sunday's final. Peter Lambert defeated Campbell in 9:19 to move to the Diamond Challenge Sculls final, while Blomquist's pair lost to the Greek duo of Christomanos and Lampridis by just two-thirds of a length.
Three other current Harvard oarsmen raced in the open eight event, the Grand Challenge Cup. Josh Hicks and Charles Risbey raced in the National Rowing Centre of Excellence, Australia B entry, which fell to Brown in its semifinal Saturday. Teammate James Medway rowed in the Aussie A entry, which lost to the California Rowing Club.