Men’s Lightweight Crew Eyes Another Perfect Season at IRA National Championships

Men’s Lightweight Crew Eyes Another Perfect Season at IRA National Championships

The Harvard lightweight crew varsity eight will take to Lake Natoma, Calif., with hopes of its second straight undefeated, national championship season at the 111th IRA Championships. The Eastern champion first varsity, which has completed its fourth straight unblemished dual season, will travel to Calif., along with the lightweight four.


Varsity Eight
Bow: Alexander Bonorris; 2: Michael Wales; 3:Austin Meyer; 4: Stuart Taylor; 5: Nicholas Gates; 6: Matt O'Leary; 7: Andrew Campbell; Stroke: Florian Mayr; Coxswain: Paul Farber

Lightweight Four
Bow: Erich Schultze; 2: Robert Hawthorne; 3: James Groeneveld; Stroke: Nicolai Astrup Wiik; Coxswain: Alex Saal 

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The Field
No. 1 Harvard will join the six other Ivy League lightweight crews, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton, Penn and Yale, at the IRA regatta along with Georgetown, MIT and Navy. The 10 crews also made up the field at EARC Sprints May 19.  In the lightweight men's fours event, all 10 institutions with varsity eights will send crews on the water, as will Wisconsin.

Sprints Recap
The Harvard lightweight crew first varsity eight won its third straight EARC Sprints crown for the first time since 1972 with an impressive showing on Lake Quinsigamond May 19. The Crimson finished second in the Jope Cup, given to the best overall team performance, as its second freshman captured Sprints gold, as well. The Crimson waited patiently on its inside track before making a move in the 1V race. Harvard was up a few seats at the midway point and kept building its advantage to seven seats at the 1,250-meter mark. By the home stretch, the Crimson gained open water as the crews rowed past the spectator area just before the finish line. Harvard crossed the line at 6:03.607, well ahead of second-place Yale at 6:07.967.
Related Link: No. 1 Harvard Lightweight Crew First Varsity Earns Sprints Title for Third Consecutive Year

Seeing Double
Combined with Harvard heavyweight crew's win at Sprints, Harvard has now won both heavyweight and lightweight varsity eights events on 14 occasions. The feat has only been accomplished four times by non-Harvard crews. The Crimson won both divisions in 1947, '59, '66, '68, '69, '74, '75, '77, '80, '88, '89, 2005, '11 and this season.

Harvard's unbeaten varsity dual mark is the 30th in program history and the seventh under head coach Charley Butt. The Crimson varsity has defeated its last 36 dual opponents and is 44-1 over the last five seasons. Harvard last posted perfect dual records in four straight seasons from 1969-72, when the crew had eight straight perfect dual seasons.

Lightweight IRA History
The lightweights have been rowing at the IRA Regatta since 1990, when the event became the national championship for lightweight crew. Prior to competing at IRAs, the Crimson competed at the Empire State Regatta for the national title. Harvard has won eight national titles since 1990 with the most recent coming last season. The Crimson also captured IRA national titles in 1991, '93, '95, '97, '99, 2001 and '03 and has medaled in six of the last seven years.
Related Link: National Championship Results

Last Year at IRAs
The Crimson held off Dartmouth by nearly a second and blew away the IRA men's lightweight course record by three seconds with a time of 5:33.059 to put the perfect finish on a collegiate campaign that included a 9-0 dual record, Eastern and Ivy League championships and a course record at Princeton. The Crimson lightweight four, made up of four freshman rowers, placed fifth, racing against varsity boats, in its grand final Saturday.
Related Link: NATIONAL CHAMPION: Harvard Lightweight Crew Takes Gold at IRA

Crimson Invited to Sweep Camp
Alexander Bonorris and Jeffrey Rogers have accepted invitations to the 2013 Lightweight Men's Under 23 National Team Sweep Camp. The camp will be held in Philadelphia, Pa. and West Windsor, N.J., to determine the lightweight men's four that will compete at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships July 24-28 in Linz, Austria.
Related Link: Bonorris, Rogers Invited to USRowing U23 Lightweight Men's Sweep Camp