Monday, October 31, 2005

And Furthermore...

The biggest eight days of the fall rowing season have just concluded, yielding some answers (yes, Wisconsin is fast again), but leaving more questions (what happened to Radcliffe at the Chase?). The lightweight eight event at the Head of the Charles did what it could to sort out the field, leaving things in the fall looking much as they did last spring. The Princeton Chase followed to make sure that no one just got lucky in Boston.

At first glance, it looks like Radcliffe may have gotten lucky a week ago. Radcliffe finished about ten seconds behind Princeton in Boston, but about 50 seconds behind the Tigers and nine seconds behind Georgetown at the Chase. I doubt it was good luck in Boston though, more like bad luck (or a different crew) in Princeton. Radcliffe was rowing in traffic as they went under the bridge, so they could have easily gotten tangled up somewhere along the course. In any case, don'’t count on a slow Radcliffe in the spring. Georgetown had a credible row at the Chase and with a new coach on board will be raring to go come spring.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin raced at the Head of the Iowa, finishing 6th in the Open 8 event and finishing in the top ten of several other heavyweight events. It's never clear what these kind of results mean for lightweights, but we already know Wisconsin is fast.

Stanford, meanwhile, has chosen to stay on the west coast this fall, leaving the extent of their speed to the imagination. Racing in the Head of the American last weekend, they finished 14th out of 17 in the Open 8 event. Again, it's hard to know just what that means.

One last word about the Princeton Chase - this is one of the finest regattas of the fall, and certainly the finest for collegiate rowing. Some of the best collegiate programs in the nation show up to race over a beautiful course without the distraction of juniors, masters, or clubs. It's just school vs. school with most rowers racing twice and seniors often getting a last chance to row together as a class. It really doesn't get much better than this unless, of course, the lightweight field could deepen enough to warrant a separate event for the women. Meanwhile, in two weeks the freshmen do it - get ready for the Belly!

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