Sports

M. crew finds mixed results at Harvard

By
Sports Editor
Thursday, April 16, 2009

The No. 6 men’s crew team achieved mixed results against No. 4 Harvard on Saturday on the Charles River, winning two out of five races.

In the varsity eight, Brown fell by a single second as the Crimson recaptured the Stein Cup, but the strong race showed the Bears had shaken off a 10-second loss to Harvard in the San Diego Crew Classic the previous Sunday.

“We had lost to them in the finals at San Diego by quite a lot, so I think, as much as we would have liked to win it, it was a good step forward to be right up with them,” said Head Coach Paul Cooke ’89.

Brown went on to drop the freshman eight and the third varsity four, but the Bears picked up victories in the second varsity eight and the second freshman eight.

“Losing in the varsity was a tough defeat, but overall there were a lot of positive results that came out of the weekend,” said varsity eight coxswain Rob O’Leary ’09.

For the Bears, the weekend was a chance to reunite the entire team after only the varsity eight made the trip to San Diego.

“It was good to have everyone together,” Cooke said. “The guys all train together, so it was great to have the whole squad go up there, and it was good racing all day. All the races were good contests.”

The varsity eight race opened the day in exciting fashion, as the teams battled down to the wire. Harvard prevailed with a time of 5:47.0, just one second faster than Brown.

O’Leary said the Bears were confident and were not fazed by Harvard’s big win in San Diego.

“We knew we could stay close to them and race them down to the line, which is what it came down to,” he said. “We weren’t worried at all about the ten seconds from the week before, but it was definitely good to kind of put ourselves back in the race.”

Christian Crynes ’10 was in the bow, followed by Chris Bowman ’11 in the second seat, Matt Wheeler ’09 in third, Cole Bonner ’10 in fourth, Ben Duggan ’10 in fifth, Scott Morgan ’10 in sixth, Nick Ritter ’10 in the seventh seat, Gareth Seymour ’09 at stroke and O’Leary.

The Bears turned the tables on the Crimson with a five-second victory in the second varsity eight, crossing the line in 5:56.0.

Harvard dominated the third varsity four, as four Crimson boats finished between 6:29.0 and 6:39.0, while Brown trailed at 6:42.0. The freshmen eight race also went Harvard’s way, as the Crimson finished at 5:59.8 and the Bears followed at 6:03.2.

Bruno closed out the race with a victory in the second freshman eight, clocking in at 6:20.3, 3.1 seconds ahead of Harvard.

But Cooke said winning the second varsity eight and second freshman eight was not necessarily a product of his team’s depth.

“Harvard actually has a ton of depth,” he said, citing the third varsity four race. “They actually have a lot more depth in terms of just physical numbers of people, and, I think, pretty good athletes, but we have a group of guys that are really motivated.”

“I think we just have a good, solid core group,” he added.

The Bears sprang into action on Saturday, supporting their teammates in a way the varsity eight missed in San Diego.

“There’s a lot of energy that comes from the entire squad being there, so it really helps to fuel each boat to have everyone there behind them,” O’Leary said.

The Bears hope to get support from a different source — their home crowd — when they take on Northeastern on Saturday at 2:30 on the Seekonk River. The women will also race on the Seekonk on Saturday when they host Boston University.

“I’m really looking forward to the home race,” Wheeler said. “It should be really fun. Northeastern’s a really high-quality competitor to race against, so we have our work cut out for us.”

O’Leary also said he was eagerly anticipating the home race, adding, “We’re just excited to test ourselves again against another really fast
competitor.”