The photo finish guys were put to work today; the DIII grand final was decided on the last stroke of the race as Ithaca surged ahead of Smith for the first and only time of the year to take the win; their 2V also made the grand, so the points trophy was clear before the points were even counted up. Looking back, I'd say it was a good year for DIII rowing, with Smith setting a high standard from the start, and their competition very willing to try to raise their game to meet it. In the grand, William overcame a sluggish start to row into bronze position, Smith led the whole way save for that last stroke to take silver, and Ithaca romped to a gold. the Coast Guard took it out hot, but couldn't hold on late; UPS, the west coast dark horse, ran in the middle of the pack throughout; and the Ithaca 2V, the only 2V to make the grand, acquitted themselves nicely by staying in touch with the field despite finishing sixth. The Ithaca coxswain crawled the length of the shell to hug every crew member; this was clearly a happy crew.
To no one's surprise, the DI eights semis provided gut-wrenching thrills. In the first semi, Virginia blasted out to a lead, then settled into third by the thousand as Yale got ahead for good. Yale looked strong and controlled in winning the race, leaving Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia to brawl over the other two qualifying spots, albeit only a half-length behind. Check the splits; it got fierce in the thick of the race. In the end, Virginia looked like the finish line couldn't arrive soon enough, and despite scratching and swinging with a survivor's instinct, couldn't find the extra boat speed to make the grand as Yale, OSU and Michigan advanced to tomorrow's grand final.
In the second semi, a big, mean move by Brown in the middle of the race was worth a full length on every crew in the race, and it got them the lead and the win. After looking a little like they might drop out the back of the Brown-Cal-Princeton push, Washington turned on the jets late in the 2k after having rowed even and perhaps a little behind Harvard at points in the race. When UW surged early in the final 500, Cal, right next to Washington in lane 2, responded immediately; Princeton, out in lane 5, took a little longer, and it looked to me like both Cal and Washington pushed through before Princeton rowed back into third by a bowball. Despite posting the fastest 4th 500 of the morning, it wasn't enough, and the advancement went Brown, Cal, Princeton.
Check the results for full reps splits and results, as well as the 13-16th place DI final; finishing order was Michigan State, Washington State, Texas, and Wisco.