Harvard Set to Race Rival Yale in 149th Regatta

Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
Photo courtesy of Zack Williamson
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The Crimson is looking for its seventh sweep of the Elis in as many years.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – College sports' oldest rivals take to the Thames River Saturday afternoon for the 149th rowing of the Harvard-Yale Regatta. The Crimson, the 2014 Eastern Sprints champion, is looking for its seventh-straight win and 14th over the last 15 years against the Elis.

This rivalry dates back nearly 150 years to a two-mile race, won by Harvard, held August 3, 1852 on Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire. To this day, it is the longest running intercollegiate rivalry and one of the richest in tradition. This season's chapter features two boats undefeated in dual races.

Friday, June 6, 2014
Combination Race – 5 p.m.
Two-mile course, upstream, Mamacoke Hill to Bartlett's Cove

Saturday, June 7, 2014
Harry Parker Memorial Dedication – 11:30 a.m. 

Freshman/Third Varsity Race – 2:45 p.m.
Two-mile course, upstream, Mamacoke Hill to Bartlett's Cove

Second Varsity Race – 3:30 p.m.
Three-mile course, upstream, Coast Guard Academy to Bartlett's Cove

Varsity Race – 4:30 p.m.
Four-mile course, upstream, Gold Star Bridge to Bartlett's Cove    

Watch Live
All of Saturday's races will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network. The production will feature audio from WICH 1310 AM's radio call delivered by Charlie Hamlin '70 and Andy Card, Yale's lightweight coach.

Probable Boatings
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

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

About the Race
While most races are 2,000 meters in length, the Crimson and Eli varsities depart from that "sprint" distance to battle along a four-mile playing field which presents a true test of each oarsman's endurance, character and strength. The varsity race is the longest of its kind in America and three times the distance of a normal race. (Each crew will take approximately 700 strokes to complete the course). The two-mile combination and freshman/third varsity races and three-mile second varsity contest are nearly as exhausting.

This year's racing will be held in June for the second-straight year and to the upstream course on the Thames River. The combination event is a fours race slated for Friday evening, and Saturday's first race pits the Harvard freshman eight against Yale's third varsity eight.

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. 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.

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, is in the midst of his 29th season with the Harvard rowing program and first with the heavyweight men. The ninth coach in Harvard heavyweight crew history, Butt becomes just the fourth coach to lead the Crimson since 1946.

Varsity Season Recap
Both teams remain undefeated in dual races this season, as the Yale varsity eight ripped off six-straight wins heading into Sprints and the Harvard crew won all seven of its events to extend its undefeated streak to 35-straight races. The EARC champs for the second-straight year, Harvard features four senior rowers and a senior coxswain, while Yale owns a youthful boat with just two graduating oarsmen. The Crimson Class of 2014 became the fifth group to win four-straight Rowe Cups. Coming off its best Sprints finish in five years a season ago, Yale ranked sixth overall at this year's event after heading into the weekend seeded No. 1 overall.

Although Harvard remains unbeaten this season, it has not come without its challenges. The Crimson did not best the second-place finisher by more than six seconds in a race and had three wins of three seconds or less. After taking third overall, and first among collegiate crews, at the Head of the Charles Regatta, the Crimson went on to win the Stein, Compton, Adams and Smith Cups. The EARC win, Harvard's fourth in five years and second straight, was part of an outstanding team showing that solidified the Rowe Cup.

The Elis also blew through their schedule without a blemish, capturing the Olympic Axe, the Blackwell Cup and the Carnegie Cup. Yale, which rowed three of its four races on the Housatonic River, started the year with a narrow win over Brown. The Elis won the Olympic Axe for the 10th-straight year with a 12-second win over Dartmouth before heading on the road. Yale retook the Blackwell Cup with wins over Penn and Columbia and the Carnegie Cup, fighting off Princeton and Cornell. 

Yale earned a berth in the grand final at Sprints, besting Cornell by 2.5 seconds to take sixth overall. 

Last Year
The crews raced upstream last year, and the Crimson won 23.7 seconds. Harvard jumped to a one-length lead off the start of the varsity race, but Yale stayed close for the first mile and trailed the Crimson by just a couple seconds. That's when Harvard took over, increasing the lead from a half-length to a length over the course of 80 seconds. The lead then reached open water and was at 10 seconds by the race's midway point, as the Crimson steadily pulled away.             

The Second Varsity Race     
Harvard won the second varsity event for the sixth-straight year in 2013 after Yale took two of three races from 2005-07. Last year's race was much more competitive than in the two previous years, as the Crimson won by six seconds. Harvard won in 2012 and 2013 by 30-plus seconds. In a strong headwind, the Crimson inched out to a two-second lead by the half-mile mark. The gap widened to a boat length over the next half mile and Harvard held off a surging Yale boat over the last half-mile to take the win.

The Freshman/Third Varsity Race
The Crimson has won seven straight H-Y freshman/3V races and 11 in 12 years. Last year marked the first time that Yale used a mixed-class boat in the freshman race, taking on the Harvard Class of 2016 with its third varsity boat – including two seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. The Crimson rookies opened a three-seat lead right off the starting line and controlled throughout, taking a commanding lead after a half-mile of water. Harvard crossed in 10:29.5, over 30 seconds ahead of Yale.