Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Head of the Charles - Fours

The lightweight four at this year's HOCR has 15 entries with 6 US colleges and another 3 Canadian college crews. Georgia State, Pacific Lutheran, Princeton, Pitt, Cal and Tulsa will race, with only Cal and Princeton returning from last year. Competing club crews are Argonaut, Bubbly Creek Rowing Foundation, Minnesota Boat Club, NYAC, Quinte, and Undine. Argonaut and Quinte are Canadian, Bubbly Creek seems to be mostly Northwestern Alumni, and Minnesota, NYAC, and Undine are traditionally quite strong in this event. The Canadian college crews are Brock University Rowing Club, Univ. of British Columbia, and Univ. of Victoria.

The top four crews from last year return - U. Vic, Undine, Brock, and Minnesota, in that order. Princeton was the top US college crew, followed by Cal and CMU. Villanova, NC State, Radcliffe, Fairfield, and MIT also raced last year. I'm surprised that Radcliffe and MIT have decided to forgo this year's race since they have the home field advantage. Last year U. Vic and Undine pretty much hammered the field, with second place Undine finishing 39 seconds ahead of third place Brock. As the first US collegiate crew, Princeton showed the speed that would carry them to the top in the spring season.

Pitt comes to Boston to see if they can keep some momentum from a good 2006 sprint season. They were a bit inconsistent but still had a season worth building upon. Pacific Lutheran is a name we didn't see last year but which raced lightweights in both 2005 and 2004. Georgia State raced a four last spring, although infrequently. A HOCR appearance will give them a feel for where they stand among some of the better crews in the country. It's good to see Tulsa with an entry, as they are beginning to develop a full lightweight program. HOCR is a great place to start the build.

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