Thursday, February 22, 2007

2007 Season Preview - Radcliffe

At the end of the 2006 IRA regatta, when the Bitter Pill Pharmacy opened for business, Radcliffe stepped up right behind Princeton. True, the Cliffies had medals around their necks, but in a season in which they seemed destined for greatness, bronze just didn't cut it. A hiccup at Princeton and a silver at Sprints made some observers think their run was over, only to see them come roaring back at IRAs as they rowed the most impressive heat of the regatta, winning it over Bucknell and Georgetown while dragging a log several hundred meters down the course. A championship was not to be, however, and for the six returning rowers plus coxswain, 2007 is a season of retribution.

The retribution distribution begins on March 31st when Radcliffe heads to Washington, DC to take on Georgetown. (This tells us that Bucknell's race against Georgetown on the same day is with the heavies.) A win here would leave the Black and White thinking that all is right with the world, at least until they see the Hoyas again in two weeks at Knecht. Following the Washington trip, Radcliffe travels to Rhode Island the following week to race URI, Bucknell, and Boston College. URI seems to be de-emphasizing lightweights and BC is usually a heavyweight only squad, so the main race here should essentially be a Radcliffe - Bucknell dual. The following week is Knecht, when everyone except Princeton, UCF, and Stanford will come out to play.

Returning home after Knecht, Radcliffe meets up with MIT to battle for lightweight dominance of the Charles. This will be the first spring meeting of these two crews in a race which used to be almost a rowover for Radcliffe. The Engineers are a different crew these days and there will be no free lunch handed out here. Speaking of no free lunch, the next weekend Princeton comes to town for the Class of '99 Cup. Radcliffe raced Princeton 5 times last season and won every race but one - the Class of '99 Cup. Hmmm, think April 28th might be highlighted on the Radcliffe schedule?

Mid-May brings Sprints, followed by IRAs in the beginning of June.

Radcliffe only lost a couple of rowers from last season's IRA boat, but at least one was a material loss, as evidenced by the way she lit up the summer rowing circuit in a 2x. Nonetheless, with a solid core back from a very strong boat last season, the Black and White will be capable of ruining everyone's day. Radcliffe is clearly on their way back to the top. They almost reached it last season, but settled instead for firing a warning shot (broadside, really) across the league's bows. There will be no settling this year as every Radcliffe boat will come to the line with her decks cleared for action and her gun ports open. They won't be sneaking up on anyone, but I would guess that's just the way they like it. (Calendar updated)

Below is Radcliffe's start at the HOCR:

If you want to download the high res version, you can get it normal size or large size. (As always, thanks to Dan Morken for the video.)

No comments: