Sports

Crew sweeps weekend races

By
Sports Editor
Monday, April 20, 2009

In front of a boisterous home crowd, the men’s crew swept four races from Northeastern on Saturday on the Seekonk River.

“It was a really strong showing by all the boats in the program,” said Mike Snyder ’09. “To sweep a crew like Northeastern shows a lot of depth, and I think it’s a testament to how hard we’ve been working this season.”

Sandwiched between three runaways, the varsity eight battled the Huskies down to the wire before pulling out a win by less than three seconds to win the Dreissigacker Cup for the fourth straight time.

“Northeastern traditionally is a very tough crew,” said Scott Morgan ’10, who was in the sixth seat. “They were able to hang with us and give us a big challenge down the course, but I think that’s the type of race that’s really going to prepare us for the championship season.”

Saturday was a memorable day for the Brown crew program. The men alternated races with the women, who swept Boston University in five contests.

“For both the men and the women to win all the races, that’s something to be proud of,” said men’s Head Coach Paul Cooke ’89. “The strength of the program as a whole was apparent for both squads.”

The afternoon began for the men with the third varsity four. The Bears pulled away early and kept growing their lead, crossing the line at 6:32.93 — about 12 seconds ahead of the
Huskies.

The second varsity eight posted a similarly strong finish, clocking in at 5:36.56, while Northeastern followed at 5:48.94.

The varsity eight faced a tougher challenge. Even though Brown got off to a fast start, the Huskies put up a fight that Cooke said the Bears weathered well.

“They kept their cool,” he said. “There were a couple times in the middle of the race where it seemed like they had some pressure put on them, but I think they handled it well and pulled away at the end.”

Brown crossed the line at 5:30.04, followed by Northeastern at 5:32.76.

“It was a really challenging race,” said coxswain Rob O’Leary ’09. “They really tested us all the way down the course. We expected them to come out and really put a lot of pressure on us, and it’s exciting that we were able to respond well and pull out a win.”

 In the final men’s race of the day, the freshman eight cruised to a comfortable win, crossing the finish line at 5:41.72 — 10.84 seconds ahead of the Huskies — to complete the four-race sweep.

Zack Gazzaniga ’09 said the strong performances across the board would lead to a good atmosphere when the boats train against each other.

“If every boat comes off a win fired up, then they’re going to train better next week, which will consequently make every boat faster the following week” in competition, he said.

“Having a boathouse filled with guys that are fired up and ready to go really makes a difference.”

After the race, both the men’s and women’s crews headed down to Marston Boathouse for a boisterous cookout. Snyder said the men enjoyed racing with the women.

“They’ve clearly been really successful the past couple of years,” he said. “It’s nice to sort of have them to work with in the boathouse, because we know they’re going fast, and it sort of inspires us, how well they do. It’s fun to get everyone together.”

After winning just two out of five races against Harvard the previous weekend, the clean sweep was an important step forward as the team prepares to face Dartmouth next Saturday in Hanover, N.H., in its penultimate dual race of the season.

“The guys got some wins under their belt, they bounced back after the loss last week to Harvard in the varsity, and I think they’re eager and looking forward to getting better in the coming week,” Cooke said.

Morgan agreed that the coming week of training would be critical.

“We have a big week of training ahead,” he said. “We know we have another tough opponent, so we’re going to get back to the grindstone and really get to it next week and work hard.”