Radcliffe Varsity Finishes Ninth at NCAA Championships, Team Places 12th
Day 1 Recap | Day 2 Recap
WEST WINDSOR, N.J.—The Ivy League-champion Radcliffe heavyweight crew capped an outstanding season with a ninth-place varsity finish and 12th-place team showing at the NCAA Championships, which wrapped up with a day of extremely close racing Sunday on steamy Mercer Lake.
The Black and White finished third, just three hundredths of a second out of second place, in the varsity eight petite final, fifth in the varsity four petite final and fourth in the second varsity eight third-level final. Radcliffe totaled 32 points in the team standings for its best showing since placing ninth in the team competition and seventh in varsity racing in 2008. The varsity four's 11th-place overall finish in was Radcliffe's best in that event since the national championship season of 2003.
Virginia won the NCAA team and varsity titles, and Michigan was the runner-up in both competitions. Southern California took varsity bronze, while California, Princeton and Ohio State rounded out the top five teams. Ivy squads also placed 10th (Yale), 13th (Cornell) and 14th (Brown), as the Ancient Eight matched the Pac-12 for the most teams in the 16-school field.
"I don't have any regrets about how any of our boats raced today," said head coach Liz O'Leary. "As a team, our first goal was to be competitive in the Ivy League, and we were proud to take that to a national level and compete the way we did here. Our team just raced so hard."
The Radcliffe varsity eight trailed early on, but moved back through the field in impressive fashion, trailing only UCLA at the midway point. The Black and White continued to move on the Bruins with Stanford in close pursuit as those three boats separated themselves from Ohio State, Cornell and Yale.
The Cardinal edged the Black and White in the sprint, finishing in 6:29.86 to Radcliffe's 6:28.89. The Black and White was just 1.4 seconds behind first-place UCLA and avenged a dual-season loss to Ohio State by 2.8 seconds. Ivy rivals Cornell and Yale rounded out the field.
The first five boats in the varsity four petite final raced closely throughout the 2,000-meter course. Radcliffe was the first boat to the 500-meter mark, just about a foot ahead of Wisconsin and Cornell. The Black and White and Badgers remained in front of the field at the midway point, with Notre Dame and UCLA joining the fray.
All four of those boats were nearly level with Cornell close behind with 500 meters to go, but UCLA quickly surged ahead. It was a sprint to the line from there. The Bruins had the most left, winning in 7:23.89. Radcliffe finished in 7:27.26, four-fifths of a second behind fourth-place Cornell and barely two seconds back of runner-up Notre Dame. Ohio State won the varsity four grand final.
The four-boat second varsity third-level final was an even tighter race. For much of the first half of the race, Radcliffe sat in third, six seats behind leader Notre Dame, two back of Cornell and one ahead of Michigan State. The Irish and Big Red pulled ahead by another seat in the third 500 meters, as the Spartans drew level with the Black and White.
Radcliffe and Michigan State moved on the leaders in the sprint, but Cornell hung on to second place by one-tenth of a second over MSU and three-tenths over Radcliffe. The Black and White finished in 6:49.20, trailing winner Notre Dame by 2.2 seconds. Michigan won the second varsity grand final.
"It really is remarkable how fast it is and how much inches matter," O'Leary concluded. "Our team is resilient, they're tough, and they're young. They'll take this back to Cambridge, and we'll see what we can continue to build."
Ohio State 67
Southern California 66
Notre Dame 20
Michigan State 15
Southern California 6:25.06
Ohio State 6:32.69
Michigan State 6:36.10
Notre Dame 6:40.33
Second Varsity Eight
Ohio State 6:38.94
Southern California 6:42.97
Notre Dame 6:47.00
Michigan State 6:49.00
Ohio State 7:13.09
Notre Dame 7:25.35
Southern California 7:32.59
Michigan State 7:33.95