No. 3 Harvard Heavyweight Crew Eyes Fourth-Straight IRA Medal

Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson

The Crimson, coming off its fourth Eastern Sprints title over the last five years, looks for its fourth-straight medal placement at the IRA National Championships.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard heavyweight crew heads to West Windsor, N.J., and Mercer Lake in search of its fourth-straight Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships medal this weekend. The entire event can be watched live here.

The 112th IRA National Championships
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.

Harvard's varsity eight placed second last season, after a third-place showing in 2012, and has placed in the top five in 10 out of 11 years since 2003. The Crimson returned to the IRA regatta in 2003 after an eight-year absence and claimed an open-water victory over Washington for the Varsity Challenge Cup. 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.

The Crimson V8 heads into the weekend seeded third overall, behind No. 1 Washington and No. 2 California. Brown and Princeton round out the top-five. The freshman boat sits at No. 4 before the racing, behind Washington, Cal and Brown. The 2V earned a seven seed, while the 3V ranks 12th. California holds the overall advantage in the second varsity race, while the Huskies, rounding out three of the four rankings, is favored in the 3V event.  

First Varsity
Coxswain: Will Hakim; Stroke: Andy Holmes; 7: Charlie Risbey; 6: Max Meyer-Bosse; 5: Vincent Breet; 4: Ben Lynton; 3: Andrew Reed; 2: James Medway; Bow: Peter Scholle

Second Varsity
Coxswain: Brittanie Maxwell; Stroke: James Croxford; 7: Rory Glover; 6: Andrew Emmett; 5: Adam Janes; 4: Josh Bernstein; 3: Greg Edwards; 2: Craig Slater; Bow: Achim Harzheim

Third Varsity
Coxswain: Jessi Izhakoff; Stroke: Alex Uruchurtu; 7: Peter Lehner; 6: Eric Slater; 5: Pat Dowling; 4: Stefano Belfiore; 3: Matthew Bean; 2: Jeff Rogers; Bow: Nick Jaroszewicz

Freshman Eight
Coxswain: Joel Bateman; Stroke: Chase Buchholz; 7: Matt Carter; 6: Henry Kennelly; 5: James Johnston; 4: Ty Gill; 3: Phil Bates; 2: Sean Vedrinelle; Bow: Ross Jarvis

Crimson Champions
Three of Harvard's nine official heavyweight national championships have come at the IRA regatta: 2003, '04 and '05. The Crimson lightweights have won eight IRA titles. The only schools to sweep the heavy and light races are Harvard (2003) and Princeton (1998). 

Eastern Champions
For the fifth time in as many years – and the 34th time in program history – the Harvard heavyweight crew captured the Rowe Cup after a stellar day on Lake Quinsigamond two weeks ago. The varsity eight's near-record time of 5:27.277 in the grand final catapulted the Crimson to victory. The Crimson V8 took home the newly-established cup named in the late Harry Parker's honor, along with the Ivy League title.

A Grand Tradition
Harvard's varsity eight has qualified for 10 grand finals in the last 11 seasons. 2008 marked the only season Harvard competed in the petite final and the Crimson has responded with top-five finishes over the last five grand finals.

Last Season at IRAs
The varsity eight secured an IRA silver at the national championship regatta a year ago. 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.

Running the Table
The Crimson V8 remains undefeated in dual races this season at 7-0. Harvard has not lost a head-to-head battle since April 10, 2010 at Brown (35-straight) and has won 49 of its last 50 duals.

In the Launch
Charley Butt, the Bolles-Parker Head Coach for Harvard Men's Heavyweight Crew, begins his 29th season with the Harvard rowing program and first with the heavyweight men in 2013-14. The ninth coach in Harvard heavyweight crew history, Butt becomes just the fourth coach to lead the Crimson since 1946.

Up Next
Harvard ends the season against archrival Yale for the 149th Harvard-Yale Regatta Saturday, June 7 in New London, Conn.