CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Five of the top seven lightweight rowing teams in the country were battling on the Charles River on Saturday.
No. 1 Stanford went up against No. 2 Harvard-Radcliffe, No. 4 Boston University, No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 7 MIT. The showdown began with the varsity eight. When these teams raced last year, the Cardinal went in to the race as the top-ranked team in the nation and fell to Harvard by six seconds.
This year the Cardinal came out of the gate firing and held a four-seat advantage over Harvard-Radcliffe at the midway point of the race. However, a strong push in the second half of the race by Harvard-Radcliffe made the finish very similar to a year ago as the Crimson would beat the Cardinal (7:26.0) by just over six seconds. Meanwhile, Stanford had quite an advantage over third-place Wisconsin by eight seconds.
"We were aggressive at the start and worked hard, but we just weren't working together," said head coach Al Acosta. "With the headwind adding time to the race, we just couldn't get that sustainable boat speed we needed to stay in front of a really good (Harvard) team."
Stanford will look for more déjà vu at the IRA National Championships in late May as despite the loss in Boston last year, the Cardinal went on to win its fourth straight national title.
In the second varsity eight race, the headwinds made the conditions tough on the rowers. Stanford would take third in this event with a time of 7:55.8. Harvard-Radcliffe also won this race in 7:39.4 with Wisconsin taking second in 7:48.9.
The Cardinal will race against Boston University and Wisconsin again on Sunday. The three teams will be on the Charles River beginning at 9 a.m. (ET) with the varsity eight. The second varsity eight race will start at 9:40 a.m. (ET).
April 19, 2014
1. Harvard-Radcliffe – 7:19.3
2. Stanford – 7:26.0
3. Wisconsin – 7:34.0
4. Boston University – 7:35.9
5. MIT – 7:56.7
Second Varsity Eight
1. Harvard-Radcliffe – 7:39.4
2. Wisconsin – 7:48.9
3. Stanford – 7:55.8
4. Boston University – 7:56.8
5. MIT – 8:26.7