No. 1 Harvard Lightweights Aim for Repeat at EARC Sprints

Of the nine athletes in Harvard's top boat, eight are seeking a second straight Sprints gold medal.
Of the nine athletes in Harvard's top boat, eight are seeking a second straight Sprints gold medal.

The Harvard lightweight varsity eight enters the 2012 Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Sprints Championships Sunday on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., with an unblemished record and No. 1 national ranking for the third straight season and looks to claim the Eastern championship and team title for the second year in a row.

Schedules (PDF): Morning | Afternoon 
Media Notes (PDF) 

Follow From Home
Live video of the racing will be available here, and live results are here.

The Season So Far
Despite graduating three seniors from its varsity eight and losing another rower to Olympic training, the Crimson quickly established itself as the crew to beat in 2011-12. Harvard boasted the top collegiate lightweight crew at the Head of the Charles Regatta, placing second to the USRowing entry and finishing more than 13 seconds faster than third-place Princeton. 

The varsity has been perfect this spring, starting with a dominant effort as part of a five-race sweep of Delaware and concluding with an outstanding showing in the HYP regatta at Yale. The Crimson captured the Goldthwait Cup with a 4.2-second varsity win as well as the Vogel Cup team championship against Yale and Princeton. Just six days prior, Harvard clocked a record time of 5:37.0 on Princeton's Lake Carnegie course en route to a defeat of No. 3 Georgetown. Harvard's freshmen defeated their first seven dual opponents before placing second at Yale, 1.4 seconds behind the Bulldogs.

Records and Rankings
The unbeaten Crimson varsity (9-0) and second freshman (4-0) eights are both seeded first among EARC crews, while the freshman (8-1) and third varsity (3-2) eights are seeded second. The second varsity eight (3-5) is the seventh seed. The Harvard varsity eight has held down the top spot in the national ranking all spring.

Harvard's unbeaten varsity dual mark is the 29th in program history, the sixth under head coach Charley Butt. The Crimson varsity has defeated its last 28 dual opponents and is 36-1 over the last four seasons. Harvard last posted perfect dual records in three straight seasons in 1970-72, when Butt was in elementary school.

Probable Lineups
Varsity Eight
Cox: Angela Chang, 8: Florian Mayr, 7: Alex Newell, 6: Tim Moore, 5: Nicholas Gates, 4: Stuart Taylor, 3: Erich Schultze, 2: Matt O'Leary, 1: Michael Wales

Second Varsity Eight
Cox: Alex Saal, 8: Craig Herron, 7: Tom Nesel, 6: Michael Paresky, 5: AJ Carvalho, 4: Simon Maas, 3: Benjamin Hughes, 2: Cam Heron, 1: Zachary Connerton,

Third Varsity Eight
Cox: Paul Farber, 8: Gabriel Lloyd, 7: Matt Gibbons, 6: Michael Velchik, 5: Joey Wall, 4: Kevin Connolly, 3: Jamie Ashton, 2: Collin Rees, 1: Yoan N'Komba

Freshman Eight
Cox: Jonathan Shpall, 8: Nicolai Astrop Wiik, 7: Christopher Magnani, 6: Alexander Bonorris, 5: Timothy McLaughlin, 4: Robert Hawthorne, 3: Jonathan Young, 2: Connor Mangan, 1: Malte Zopfs

Second Freshman Eight
Cox: Alexander Spencer, 8: Matthew Pawlwoski, 7: Nelson Arnous, 6: Eli Leavitt, 5: Stefan Skalbania, 4: Owen Senders, 3: Edward McKlveen, 2: Sam Barrington, 1: Ross Svenson

Freshman Four
Cox: Ezra Stoller, 4: Parker Grayson, 3: Johnathan Budd, 2: Josh Shih, 1: Henry Klingenstein

Varsity Eight
Eight of the nine athletes in the Harvard lightweight varsity eight won gold at last year's Sprints: coxswain Angela Chang (Potomac, Md.) and oarsmen Tim Moore (Exeter, N.H.), Matt O'Leary (Westwood, Mass.) and Erich Schultze (Foxboro, Mass.) in the varsity eight and Nicholas Gates (Ross, Calif.), Florian Mayr (Wainfleet, Ont.), Alex Newell (Weston, Mass.) and Stuart Taylor (Brockville, Ont.) in the second varsity.

The foursome from the second varsity rowed as a four at the IRA National Championships, winning gold. Newell, O'Leary, Schultze, and sophomore Michael Wales (Mercer Island, Wash.) rowed in the U.S. men's lightweight quad at the 2011 World Rowing U23 Championships, while Taylor raced in Canada's men's lightweight four. Moore is a three-year member of the varsity eight and has won all 28 of his dual races in the Crimson's top boat. Gates, Mayr, Newell, O'Leary and Schultze have never lost a dual race at Harvard.

Harvard's Major Lightweight Sprints Championships
Varsity eight: 1946, '47, '58, '59, '60, '61, '66, '68, '69, '70, '71, '72, '74, '75, '77, '78, '80, '82, '88, '89, '91, '95, '97, 2005, '11.
Second varsity eight: 1946, '52, '58, '60, '62, '65, '67, '68, '69, '70, '71, '72, '73, '74, '75, '76, '77, '79, '80, '85, '87, '90, '91 2004, '05, '11.
Freshman eight: 1948, '49, '54, '58, '59, '60, '62, '63, '65, '66, '68, '69, '71, '73, '74, '75, '79, '85, 2004.
Jope Cup: 1965, '66, '68, '69, '70, '71, '72, '73, '74, '75, '76, '77, '78, '79, '80, '82, '91, 2004, '05, '09, '11.

More Lightweight History
Harvard's varsity lightweights made the grand final in each of the first 62 years of the Eastern Sprints. Only four times has the varsity finished lower than fourth: sixth in 1955, fifth in 2002 and 2007 and eighth in 2008.

The Crimson, which won 13 straight Jope Cups from 1968-80, is seeking its third cup in four years. Harvard has swept the lightweight competition at the Sprints eight times (1958, '60, '68, '69, '70, '71, '74, '75). Yale (1950) and Princeton (1986, '98) are the only other schools to achieve that feat.

Team Strength
Of the six events that contribute to the Sprints team competitions (heavy and light varsity, second varsity and freshman eights), Harvard enters with a perfect dual record in three events and a combined 38-7 dual-racing mark.

Sprinting to Success
Harvard has more Sprints titles than any other school. Adding up the six major divisions at Eastern Sprints, Harvard crews have combined to win 141 titles, including 52 at the varsity level (27 heavyweight, 25 lightweight).

Last Season at Sprints
The Crimson lightweight varsity eight followed the heavyweight eight with an Eastern title of its own. A win by the lightweight second varsity helped the Crimson capture the Jope Cup, giving Harvard a sweep of the EARC team trophies as well.

Quest for the Cup
The 2011 Jope Cup victory as Sprints lightweight team champion was Harvard's 21st  overall, second in three years and fourth since 2004. The Crimson has won the Jope Cup more times than any other team. Since 2002, the Harvard heavy and lightweights have won a combined 11 team trophies.

Seeing Double
On 13 occasions, including last year, both the Harvard heavyweight and lightweight varsity eights won Sprints gold medals, a feat that has only been accomplished four times by nonâ€'Harvard crews. The Crimson won both divisions in 1947, '59, '66, '68, '69, '74, '75, '77, '80, '88, '89, 2005 and '11.

Gold Standard
Only 11 times in the 66-year history of  Sprints and six times since 1957 has Harvard failed to win at least one major grand final. In one of those seasons (1981), the Crimson did not compete due to exams. In two others (heavyweight in 1992, lightweight in 2009), Harvard has won a team cup despite not coming away with a gold medal.

Ivy Implications
The top-finishing Ivy League varsity eights in the heavy and light divisions will win the Ivy title. The Harvard heavyweights have earned 27 Ancient Eight crowns since 1957, while the lightweights have won 24.