IRA Championships Central at row2k.com
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford's second-ranked men's I Eight needed just one heat Thursday at the IRA Championships at Lake Natoma to advance to Friday's semifinals, claiming victory in a time of 5:58.30. Stanford's two other men's boats, the II Eight and Frosh Eight, each took third in their respective heats, but will each have to head to Friday's repechage to get into the semifinals, as only the winner of the II Eight and Frosh Eight heats qualified for the semifinals.
The I Eight, competing in the fourth heat of its class, held a lead of little over a second on the next boat, Boston University, after the opening 500 meters. Stanford only got stronger over the rest of the 2,000-meter course, widening its lead to over three seconds by the halfway point and to just under seven seconds heading into the final sprint. Over that final 500 meters, the lead remained true, and the Cardinal's time of 5:58.30 came out as 6.37 seconds faster than second-place BU.
Stanford's performance in the heat advanced the boat to Friday's semifinals, which are set to begin at 11:45 a.m. at Lake Natoma.
"The varsity eight rowed with exceptional poise this morning," said Stanford Director of Rowing and men's head coach Craig Amerkhanian. "They have positioned themselves to be contenders for the top three positions in tomorrows semifinal."
The next Cardinal boat to take to the water was the II Eight, facing off against Washington, Gonzaga, Harvard, and George Washington. With only the winner earning a semifinal spot in this heat, the urgency was ratcheted up for all participants.
Stanford opened the race in third position trailing the lead boat from Washington by less than two seconds after 500 meters. The Cardinal continued to battle over the entire course, staying within striking range of second-place Harvard as well, which it trailed by 1.6 seconds at the halfway point. Yet Washington and Harvard were able to repel the Cardinal challenge, and the Huskies claimed the heat's semifinal spot, leaving the Cardinal, which clocked a finishing time of 6:08.64, and the remaining three crews to Friday's repechage for a final chance at a semifinal berth.
The II Eight repechage races are set to begin at approximately 10:12 a.m.
The Frosh Eight rounded out the Stanford boats on the water Friday as the only West Coast boat in its heat. Stanford would open the race in third position and held that spot over the entire course. By just over the halfway point, the Brown and Cornell boats broke away from the main pack and battled for the automatic semifinal berth, but Stanford still held its own against challenges from the other three crews.
The freshmen continued to battle, holding off challenges from Dartmouth and MIT at the wire to take third in a time of 6:18.90. Brown would win the heat with a time of 6:06.30.
Stanford's Frosh Eight will now seek a semifinal berth through tomorrow's repechage, which is set to get underway at 9:36 a.m.
The Stanford Lightweights will see their first action of the regatta tomorrow as well, as the lightweight eight heats start the action at 8 a.m.