Crew team earns first varsity win

Assistant Sports Editor
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The No. 6 men’s crew team enjoyed a successful weekend on the Charles River in Boston, topping No. 9 Northeastern to claim the Dreissigacker Cup.

In the Varsity Eight race, Bruno posted a time of 6 minutes, 00.9 seconds, earning a seven-second victory over the Huskies. The Bears also came out ahead in the Second Varsity Eight, finishing in 6:12.9.

“We had a fantastic race,” said captain Alex Fleming ’12. “We saw our true speed. It was good for us to get an accurate read on how fast we were.”

The victory over Northeastern marked the first win for the Varsity Eight boat this season. The Bears have endured a difficult schedule to date, including matchups against several top-ranked programs.

“It was an important race for us,” said men’s Head Coach Paul Cooke ’89. “We had come up short against teams ranked number one and number two in the country, so this was an opportunity for us to show what we can do.”

The week before, the Bears faced heavily-favored Ivy League rival Harvard at home. The Varsity Eight posted an impressive time of 5:26.0, narrowly behind the Crimson’s mark of 5:25.4.

“Obviously, we were disappointed that we didn’t win that race,” Fleming said. “However, (Harvard) is favored to win the national championship, so to lose by .6 seconds is not that bad.”

The men return to action Saturday for Bruno’s final home race of the season against Dartmouth on the Seekonk River.

“It’s the last home race for our seniors, so there’s a lot of energy and excitement,” Fleming said.

Despite the emotions that come with the seniors’ final race, Cooke said he aims to ensure that the squad remains focused on their larger goals for the season.

“I think the importance of the season is going to take center stage,” he said. “Certainly, we want to honor our seniors and have them go out in a great way. But the focus is going to be on the fact that this is one race in a string of races that is going to prepare us for the championship.”

The No. 10 women’s crew team was also in action last weekend, traveling to Gold River, Calif., to take part in the Lake Natoma Invitational. The races were held at the Sacramento State Aquatics Center, the same location where the Bears earned the 2011 Division I Championship a little less than one year ago.

Bruno was placed in a field alongside the University of Texas and No. 13 Washington State Cougars, two of the country’s elite programs. The Bears Varsity Eight finished in 6:36.7, nearly seven seconds ahead of second-place Cougars and the second fastest time of any crew at the Invitational.

Bruno also clinched a victory in the Second Varsity Eight with a time of 6:50.2 but was topped by Washington State in the Varsity Four.

The Bears won their grouping with 17 points, the second-most in the Invitational behind the University of California  at Berkeley.

The Bears travel to Ithaca Saturday for an Ivy League matchup against No. 14 Cornell and No. 16 Columbia.


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