No. 1 Harvard-Radcliffe Lightweight Crew on a Mission for IRA Title

Photo courtesy of OAC
Photo courtesy of OAC

Undefeated Black and White looks to win first IRA National Championship title since 1997.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Undefeated and No. 1 Harvard-Radcliffe lightweight crew looks for its first national title since 1997, and sixth overall, when the Black and White compete at the IRA National Championships this weekend in West Windsor, N.J.

With racing starting on Saturday, May 31, Radcliffe will face off against BU, Bucknell, Georgetown, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Wisconsin. In the fours race, the Black and White will be up against BU, Fordham, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Wisconsin.  

First Varsity
Coxswain: Erin Driscoll; Stroke: Naomi Lang; 7: Adelaide Backer; 6: Elizabeth Pate; 5: Gabrielle McNeill; 4: Claire Harmange; 3: Katherine Mallett; 2: Elizabeth Lenczowski; Bow: Olivia Henry

Varsity Four
Coxswain: Gabriella Guigliano; 4: Andrea Linares; 3: Serena Blacklow; 2: Elizabeth MacEachern; Bow: Taylor Garden

Sprints Champion
The Radcliffe varsity eight set a new course record on the Cooper River, winning gold at the EAWRC Sprints for the second-straight year May 4. The Black and White also earned its second-straight Konrad Ulbrich Points Trophy as the second varsity eight, varsity four and novice four all finished second in their respective grand finals. It marked the first time since 1996-97 that Radcliffe has won back-to-back V8 Sprints titles and the first time in the eight-year history of the award that the Black and White earned two-consecutive Konrad Ulbrich trophies.

In the Polls
The Black and White remain atop the USRowing poll with eight of the nine first-place votes. After besting Stanford at the Lightweight Invitational April 19, Radcliffe unseated the Cardinal to move into the No. 1 position and remains atop the field. Stanford sits at No. 2, followed by Wisconsin, Princeton and BU.

Sprints History
The Radcliffe lightweights have won the Eastern title at Sprints 13 times. Nine of those championships came in varsity eight races: 1977, '80, '82, '84, '85, '87, '97, 2004 and '13. On three other occasions (1993, '94 and '96), the Black and White won the Sprints title by virtue of its win in the varsity four when no varsity eight race was contested. Radcliffe also won the varsity four in 1995 and '98 and won the novice eight in 2007. Wisconsin has won six of the last eight 1V races at Sprints.

The 112th IRA National Championships
The Black and White has won five national championships, most recently in 1997, the last of three straight titles and the first determined at the IRA Regatta. Radcliffe won National Collegiate Rowing Championships crowns in 1991, '93, '95 and '96 in Cincinnati. 

Last Year
Radcliffe upped its bronze medal performance from 2012 with a second-place finish a season ago at the IRA National Championships. The Black and White was clipped by Stanford in the grand final. The lightweight four also crossed second, edged out by Wisconsin.

Consistent Excellence
The varsity eight has medaled in 10 of its 17 IRA appearances. In only one of those years (2000) did the Black and White miss the grand final. Radcliffe has placed fourth or better in six of the last seven seasons, 11 of the last 12 seasons and 15 of its 17 overall appearances.

Experienced Rowers
Radcliffe's varsity eight features a wide range of IRA experience. Katherine Mallett is in the first varsity for the fourth time, while Adelaide Backer and Elizabeth Lenczowski are both rowing in the 1V at IRAs for the third time. Naomi Lang and Erin Driscoll will both be making their second appearance at IRA's.  

In the Launch
A successful rowing coach at multiple levels, Elizabeth "Lou" Berl begins her first season with the Radcliffe lights in 2014. Formerly the head coach at her alma mater Trinity College, Berl also has stops with Virginia and Ohio State.

Crack the Champagne
Radcliffe debuted its newest boat April 19, the Edith Blue, donated by Edith Cooper '83, the Managing Director, Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs.