Sunday, February 04, 2007

2007 Season Preview - Ohio State University

URI actually finished 9th last year, but the best they are hoping for this year appears to be a light eight at the A10 championships. That's quite a disappointment from a program that had planned to make lightweights a permanent part of URI rowing. Since URI looks like they'll be non-participants this year, we'll look instead at last year's 11th place team - Ohio State.

Coach Hugh Dodd begins his first spring season at the helm of the Buckeyes. An 11th place ranking last year was a bit of a slip back from 7th in 2005, as some varsity programs with a focus on lightweights scooted past in '06. Coach Dodd comes in with a strong appreciation for lightweights and a desire to make Ohio State known as lightweight friendly (and successful) for both men and women.

The Buckeyes' schedule is a mish-mash of both lightweight and heavyweight races so it's not always easy to tell when the lights will race. The racing starts on March 25th in Indianapolis with a race against Purdue, Texas, Michigan State, or Grand Valley. Of those crews, only Purdue is likely to have lightweights (and it would be nice to see the Boilermakers come back to the fold after several years away), although MSU did race lights last season. The next weekend is Michigan State or Grand Valley, or the Ithaca Invite. I'm not aware of any lightweight potential there.

On April 14th is the Ohio Cup (too bad they're not at Knecht). This regatta was canceled last year, but there was a light four event the previous year. It's likely that OSU would outclass any other lightweight boats that would show up. Two weeks later is the Indianapolis Invitational. Despite a healthy men's light eight field, there is no lightweight women's event. There were three light eights here last year, but they were forced to race as 2V (OSU beat MSU and Miami), and it's likely that's what we'll see this year. Indy is followed by MACRAs, this year in Michigan. The Buckeyes should be able to race a light eight and four here (they won last year's light four race by half a second). This race would be a nice lead-in to the light eight and big light four field at Dad Vail; unfortunately, the next week Ohio State plans to race at ECACs instead of Dad Vail. Since the ECAC canceled lightweight events last year, either the Buckeye lightweights will sit out or race as the "2V." The ECAC continues to play its original Dad Vail spoiler role well. Would it be too much to hope that the lightweight coaches would call each other and decide on one race to attend? I'd like to see that race be Dad Vail (that would be the regatta that didn't cancel the lightweights last year), but it really doesn't matter as long as everyone is in one place. Three weeks later comes IRAs.

Ohio State will be lucky to race as a lightweight eight even once before IRAs, and may go into the national championship race never having raced any of its competition. At Dad Vail they would at least see Dayton, but at ECAC they may only see a passel of 2Vs. Coach Dodd's first season will be interesting to watch. He seems to be committed to lightweights and I suspect his enthusiasm will breed speed.


Anonymous said...

hi! this is not at all related to this post, but i couldn't get the email to a freshman lw at radcliffe and i was just wondering - are there any lw events at the royal henley regatta?

JW Burk said...

There are only three women's events at the Henley Royal Regatta, all for heavyweights - 1x, 4x, 8-.

Prior to the HRR, however, is Henley Women's Regatta. In 2006 HWR held events for the lightweight 1x, 2-, 4-, 2x, and 4x. All of these events were at the Elite level except the 1x, which also had a Senior B 1x.

(The email address should be working as I continue to receive emails there. I'm not sure why you might've had trouble.)

Anonymous said...

thanks so much!