Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Head of the Charles Draw

The Head of the Charles draw is out for the light eight and light four. Last year there were 14 entries in the eight, 6 of whom were US collegiate crews (plus U. of British Columbia). This year 16 eights are entered including 9 US college crews. The 6 crews from last year are entered again (Wisconsin, Princeton, Radcliffe, Georgetown, URI, and MIT) plus Holy Cross, Marist, and Cal. Other entrants are Atlanta Rowing Club, which often puts out a boat largely made up of Georgia Tech alums, Havergal College which looks to be a youth eight, Quinte Rowing Club from Canada, and Rudergesellshaft Munchen 1972. I don't know much about the last two. Also entered is Picnic Point Rowing Club a pleasantly named club comprised primarily of Wisconsin alumni. Given that heritage it should have the potential to surprise. The final two entrants are last year's first and second place finishers - London Training Center and Riverside Boat Club. Both crews will contain women training for their respective national teams.

It's good to see both URI and Cal in this field. URI's presence suggests that the new staff will continue building the lightweight program, which started to receive some attention last year. [Update: URI is no longer listed.] Cal makes the trip east after missing 2005's race (in the eight, they did race the four). Although they did race last spring, Cal seemed to be missing in action, perhaps because they raced in few lightweight events and those they did race were really only against Stanford. Speaking of Stanford, the Cardinal skips another year. Stanford raced in 2003 and 2004, but missed last year. I guess it's a pretty long trip from California. Marist's entry may mean that they'll have an eight to race in the spring, something they do fairly frequently. Holy Cross made some half-hearted attempts at boating a light eight last year, but an entry here may mean that they finally feel like they've the personnel to make a run.

Interestingly enough, since 1998, only last year did the HOCR collegiate winner (Wisconsin) ultimately become the national champion the following spring. Perhaps the squirreliest year was 2001 when Wisconsin, Radcliffe, and MIT all beat eventual champ Princeton. Despite that record, it would be really nice to have a Charles gold medal.

Next, the fours.

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