Harvard Heavyweight Crew Varsity Places Second, Team Earns Fourth at IRA Championships

Harvard Heavyweight Crew Varsity Places Second, Team Earns Fourth at IRA Championships

Day 1 Recap | Day 2 Recap

GOLD RIVER, Calif. –
The Harvard heavyweight crew varsity eight's attempt to unseat two-time defending champion and No. 1 ranked Washington came up short, but the Crimson was able to secure IRA silver at the national championship regatta Sunday. Harvard also won the second varsity petite final, placed fifth in the freshman grand final and second in the open four petite final to place fourth in the overall points standings. 

Harvard exploded off the block in the first varsity race, but Washington quickly made up the distance. The two crews were side-by-side in the early going, up at least one seat on the rest of the field.

With Harvard wanting to keep the top-ranked Huskies in its sight, Washington pulled ahead by one seat at the 500-meter mark. From there, the defending champions started to show that they were once again the strongest crew.

By the 750-meter line, Washington had gained a three-seat advantage, while Harvard and Northeastern started to add seats from the rest of the crews. Northeastern and Harvard tried to challenge Washington through the middle portion of the race, but the Huskies from Seattle continued to hold them off.

"It was disappointing not to be able to catch Washington, but they are a very, very strong crew," said Harry Parker, The Thomas Bolles Head Coach for Harvard Men's Crew, who is in his 51st season. "We gave it all we could to stay with them and we did for a good distance. But, eventually, we couldn't quite do it."

The crowds' attention began to focus on the race for second place, which was shaping up to be a thriller towards the final stretch. Northeastern, Brown and Harvard all had a shot at the medal stand.

The crews rowed through the red buoyed last 500 meters and past the crowd on the nearby beach, but even as the race finished, spectators could not tell which boat was in second, third or fourth. A photo finish revealed that Harvard crossed after Washington, Brown was in third and Northeastern was bumped from being awarded a medal.

"I thought we were going to get it," said Parker with a smile about the final strokes. "I have faith in these guys. They are great racers and they don't give anything away."

Washington captured its third straight IRA national title and fifth in the last seven years. The Huskies also claimed their seventh straight Ten Eyck Award, given to the team that accumulates the most overall points, by winning all five grand finals.

Harvard's second varsity started as the early leader in the petite final, but was followed closely by Penn, which started a quick pace. The rest of the field was a few seats back off of the start, but by the 1,000-meter line all crews were tight, although Harvard still led.

Cornell began to make a charge through the middle part of the race and passed the Crimson as crews began to spread out. Harvard pushed it to even before 500 meters were left to set up a sprint for first. In the last stretch, Harvard clipped Cornell by 1.399 seconds.

Harvard's freshman finished fifth after rowing most of the race in third and fourth. Washington easily won the event after gaining a one-length lead through 750 meters, as California was the only other boat that tried to keep pace early. The Crimson stayed back, with Brown and Cornell, before starting a charge in the third 500 meters. Brown also began a move in the second half of the race and started to pull forward to eventually finish second. Harvard could not sustain the tempo and dropped to fifth, clocking in at 6:02.416. Washington won in 5:52.774.

The Crimson also rowed in the open four event and went for second in the petite final. Wisconsin was the petite final winner, while Washington once again claimed the grand final.  

Harvard's Sunday finishes helped the Crimson place fourth in the team points standings behind Washington (198), Brown (182) and Cal (166). Harvard was second among Ivy League crews with 163 points, ahead of Princeton (5th, 140), Cornell (6th, 118), Penn (10th, 90), Yale (11th, 84) and Dartmouth (16th, 39). 

Varsity Eight – Grand Final
Washington – 5:39.683
Harvard – 5:42.246
Brown – 5:42.539
Northeastern – 5:42.721
Cal – 5:45.069
Princeton – 5:49.546

Second Varsity Eight – Petite Final
Harvard – 5:59.812
Cornell – 6:01.211
Wisconsin – 6:04.382
Syracuse – 6:05.232
Yale – 6:07.715
Penn – 6:12.552

Freshman Eight – Grand Final
Washington – 5:52.774
Brown – 5:57.732
Cal – 5:59.948
Cornell – 5:59.511
Harvard – 6:02.416
Penn – 6:13.125

Open Four – Petite Final
Wisconsin – 6:46.841
Harvard – 6:49.304
Syracuse – 6:52.540
Penn – 6:54.975
Gonzaga – 7:05.684
Holy Cross – 7:09.498

Ten Eyck Award
Washington - 198
Brown - 182
Cal - 166
Harvard - 163
Princeton - 140
Cornell - 118
Northeastern - 114
Wisconsin - 111
Navy - 101
Penn - 90
Yale - 84
BU - 77
Stanford - 64
George Washington - 47
Syracuse - 42
Dartmouth - 39
Georgetown - 25
Oregon State - 22
Drexel - 21
Holy Cross - 6
FIT - 5
Gonzaga - 3
UCSD - 0 

Varsity Eight Race Video 

Harry Parker Reaction Video