The morning wind sat down considerably for the later afternoon finals (see our report from the morning racing here), but did not lose all its bluster... it was certainly not a course-record day for the finals on Quinsigamond. The Brown Heavies pulled off a terrific team performance, taking the Varsity, 2V and 1F, 2F and the Rowe Cup for Heavyweight supremacy at Sprints, while the Princeton lights made good on the promise of their season, taking the Varsity Lightweight Eight with a dominant performance. The Harvard Lights took the Jope Cup despite not winning an event save for the 3V outright, as EARC Lightweight rowing has seemed to settle back into a kind of parity, with three different crews winning the 1V, 2V (Yale) and 1F (Cornell).
Brown's wins in the heavyweight 1F and 1V were scripted nearly identically, with Brown walking through a favored Harvard crew late in each race. A beaming Brown coach Paul Cooke was clearly taking nothing for granted. "You never really expect anything like this," said Cooke.
"Sometimes, when it rains it pours...in both directions," added former Princeton and Cornell coach Dan Roock, who was on hand to award medals during the day.
The win by Brown over Harvard and Wisconsin, who seemed to have a somewhat subdued piece by in the Grand, at least by their recent standards, sets up a barnburner IRA in the coming weeks, with everyone now having had a piece of everyone...Wisconsin over UW and Stanford, Harvard over Wisconsin, Brown over Harvard and Wisco, etc.
Heavy hardware: the Harvard 1V is rowing Canada's Olympic gold medal winning Empacher; was this the boat's first loss?
The sprint of the day belonged to the Brown 1F, who came into the last 500 down by a bit, then found quite possibly the perfect last 30 strokes of the race, if not the regatta, to walk through a huge Harvard crew to win by half a second.
Not to be outdone, the Brown JV made fairly short work of their final, winning by open water ahead of Wisconsin and BU.
Almost lost in the excitement of the Men's Heavy 2V final was the startling fact that BU's bronze marks the first sprints medal ever won by that program. Heckuva way for Tom Bohrer to start his career at BU, and arguably a hugely important result for his program.
Princeton's win in the Varsity Lightweight eight saw the crew complete the EARC season unbeaten. When asked if he'd seen this coming all season, Princeton coach Greg Hughes said, "No, definitely not!"
The Yale JV lights were fairly dominant in their event, taking a pillar to post win all the way to the awards dock. As the crew gathered for the medals and trophies, coach Andy Card pointed them in the direction of their well wishers on the dock: "take in the scene boys, take in the scene!"
If the Cornell lights have seemed to slip from their recent dominance of EARC lightweight rowing, at least late in the season, on need look no further than the two victorious frosh crews that Cornell put on the water today; the 1F and 2F both won impressively today.
There was a ton of red on the awards dock as Cornell, Harvard, Brown and Wisconsin claimed the gold medals in the Light and Light 2F, Light 3V, Heavy 2F and Heavy 3V events to start the afternoon.
As the lineups for medalling crews get read over the PA, it's always a good time for locating that well-placed name: this year, it was that of Harvard lightweight 1F coxswain, who is named Dave Rower.
We know it's hard to get a medal at Sprints, but this is ridiculous: because of the crosswind, we saw more than one medallist crew have a hard time landing on the awards dock.
We'll excuse this one for lactic acid on the brain, but one of the Brown 1V oarsman attempted to walk off the awards platform, seemingly forgetting that his shell needed to be rowed back to the dock.
In all, a tremendous afternoon of racing at the EARC Sprints; the cancellation of the ECAC event will certainly make for some difficult decisions down the pike with respect to IRA selections, but the rumor floated shoreside in Worcester was that at least the top 12 heavyweight 1Vs would get the nod, and by extension team bids as well.
Finally, the tightest margin of the day? row2k user fastismatt's 1-point winning margin in row2k's Sprints Pick'Em!
2009 Eastern Sprints V8 Heavy Final Brown
May 10, 2009 EARC.
Eastern Sprints V8 Final.
Finish order: Brown, Harvard, Wisconsin, Cornell, Northeastern, Boston U. Left to Right on video: Brown, Harvard, Wisconsin, Northeastern, Cornell, BU.
Shot from the Route 9 bridge.
Yes, it was that windy.