With racing ending at 7:50 PM, the 2006 Sprints had the feel of a long weekend rather than a championship day. The headwind that prevailed for most of the afternoon's races made for interesting results: that said, the old saw of "unfair lanes" on Quinsig did not seem to get raised at all.
The 2006 Sprints were run virtually in all four seasons...sun, heat, wind, cold, rain, hail, then sun and dead flat calm for the VL8/V8. Halfway through the afternoon racing, wind/rain briefly halted racing, but the weather recovered quickly. Bit of a tough tradeoff...while it was raining, the wind died a bit, but as soon as it cleared up, the wind came right back up. Another thunderstorm (complete with hail) cleared the course with 3 races to go... long day at Quinsigamond.
With Princeton and Cornell, winners of the V8 and VL8, you have an expected winner, and an unexpected winner. The performance of the Cornell lights, coming from the eighth seed to win their heats and then the whole show, has to be one of the more impressive feats I've seen at the regatta.
Fearsome two-fer...the Navy 3V and 4V finished 1-2 in the 3V final. Navy might consider doing what some deep prep school teams do...field a second full Varsity team, and give them their own racing schedule.
The afternoon frosh finals brought upsets, and some of the best racing of the day. Racing into the stiffest wind of the afternoon, the Princeton frosh lights beat Navy at their own game, bashing into the wind, and finished a length clear of the Mids, with Columbia leapfrogging #2 Yale to come in third. There was palpable glee on the awards dock when longtime Princeton coach Gary Kilpatrick presented the Gary Kilpatrick trophy to the Princeton crew.
Likewise, Cornell alum John Collyer was on hand to deliver the Cornell trophy to the winning JV Lightweight crew...from Cornell. (The trophy presentation also produced the PA quip of the day: "And the crew's coxswain is Pat Little...that's a great name for a coxswain!")
The frosh heavy eight was an all-out brawl with four crews in striking distance all the way down the course...though not the four crews you would have thought. Penn left the field early, with Wisco, who knocked Brown out in the morning, Harvard and Northeastern scrapping for seats behind. At the finish, it was Penn, claiming their first frosh title since 1997, ahead of Northeastern, with Harvard third. That makes two frosh medals for NU today, first time in a long time as well.
On balance, not the greatest day for #1 seeds: Navy lights, seeded first in all events, fell to Princeton in the 1F and Cornell in the JV and V. The Harvard heavy frosh fell to Penn, while the Harvard JV and Princeton V8 almost won "as expected."
Princeton's win in the V8 may not have been emphatic, but you gotta be happy with a W: the Tigers remain undefeated - winning yet again by around three seconds, which seems to be their preferred margin of victory this year - and have another round to go at IRAs with very solid west coast crews in the mix before the sun sets on the season.
After the final thunderstorm, a stunningly beautiful rainbow stretched horizon to horizon on the Shrewsbury bank of the lake. Camera phones were out in force as rowing fans got dried off and ventured back out of their shelters. And, just maybe, at least one crew found their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.