CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – No. 6 Harvard men's heavyweight crew travels to Mercer Lake in New Jersey for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships this weekend. Racing starts at 8:50 a.m. Friday, June 3 and concludes with the varsity eight grand final at 12:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
The 114th 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 took fifth for the second-straight season in 2015, after medaling in 2012 (bronze) and 2013 (silver). The Crimson has placed in the top five in 12 out of 13 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.
Jacqueline Goodman (coxswain), Jack Kelley (stroke), James Croxford (7), Connor Harrity (6), Alexander Richards (5), James Johnston (4), Ross Jarvis (3), Sam Hardy (2), Arthur Doyle (bow)
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).
Last Time Out
For the first time since 2011, the second varsity won the Sprints title three weeks ago on Lake Quinsigamond. It marked the first time since 2012 that the Crimson had every boat in the grand final, as the varsity eight took fourth overall. The third and fourth varsities each took home silver medals.
A Grand Tradition
Harvard's varsity eight has qualified for 12 grand finals in the last 13 seasons. 2008 marked the only season Harvard competed in the petite final and the Crimson has responded with top-five finishes over the last seven grand finals.
Last Season at IRAs
The Harvard varsity eight finished fifth in the grand final at the IRA National Championships, while the third varsity took home silver. The Crimson also ranked fifth in the Ten Eyck Trophy with 157 points, two behind Brown (159). In the top event, Washington distanced itself early, posting a half-length lead by 500 meters. The Crimson were side-by-side with Cal for second, testing the west coast crews through the 1,000-meter mark. The Huskies and Bears started to distance themselves, while Princeton and Brown made a move down the stretch. The Crimson crossed in 5:38.680, two seconds behind Brown. Washington won its fifth-straight IRA title with a time of 5:28.015.
In the Launch
Charley Butt, the Bolles-Parker Head Coach for Harvard Men's Heavyweight Crew, is in the midst of his 31st season with the Harvard rowing program and third with the heavyweight men in 2015-16.
Harvard ends the season against archrival Yale for the 151st Harvard-Yale Regatta Sunday, June 12 in New London, Connecticut.