Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Duals (and More) This Weekend

Radcliffe heads to Rhode Island on Saturday to meet Bucknell, Boston College, and URI. BC doesn't race lightweights and it appears URI has tossed in the towel, so I don't expect either of those teams to offer lightweight competition for Radcliffe. The information clampdown continues at Bucknell so we'll wait with bated breath to see if the Bison race a light eight or a heavy eight. Although the State Secret is still secure, I expect we'll see a heavy eight and, at this point, this is what I hope to see since a Radcliffe-Bucknell heavies race will give us a means to compare the Black and White with Princeton. Like Princeton's race last week, this will be a bit of a gimme for Radcliffe since they'll probably be racing all heavyweight boats. There will be some added pressure however, to come within Princeton's 10 seconds of the heavies. Conditions can make such a comparison wildly inaccurate, but why let that stop us?

Princeton, meanwhile, is back on the water as UCF and MIT come to visit. This is scheduled to be an all day affair with eights in the morning and fours in the afternoon, but it's not clear if that will happen and who will be in the fours. With UCF's 2006 IRA boat raided by the heavyweights (as we've discussed previously), and MIT only recently moving back onto the national stage in eights, expectations will be high for the Tigers. A stumble here would not be the way to start the lightweight season. Despite the loss of UCF lightweights, I don't exactly think the Golden Knights will be sending scrubs up north to face MIT and Princeton. The boat hasn't been tested yet against top notch lightweight competition, but that doesn't mean it's slow, only unknown. A good showing here sets the stage for the remainder of the season, which includes a Princeton re-match at Windermere. MIT has to be energized to start the season after a good fall campaign. Let's remember that this is a crew that beat Georgetown at the Head of the Charles. Clearly the Engineers have potential and despite being a bit rusty, they'll no doubt be feeling their oats on Lake Carnegie.

Two other duals to note - Lehigh races Drexel (which should be a heavyweight affair) and Cal races Santa Clara. Cal's race with Santa Clara should provide the Bears with a nice gauge of the progress they might be making against Stanford. Well, actually, all we know is that Stanford beat Santa Clara. Since they were timed scrimmage pieces, spreads were not reported.

To go back to UCF for a minute, a reader commented a few weeks ago that the the UCF lightweights that were taken by the heavyweight squad "are not being allowed to return for IRA's." If true, none of UCF's IRA crew will be rowing lightweight this year. As far as I know, the NCAA would allow these rowers to return unless the heavies went to the NCAA championship. Perhaps this is the coach's decision? Or, perhaps the heavies are so certain of a NCAA invite that they just assume the lights can't return. After coming close to an IRA medal last year, it's got to be difficult to spend a season toiling in the heavyweight 2V (a few are no doubt in the 1V) simply so the team can win the consolation prize at regattas (also known as the team championship). Once again we can thank the NCAA for creating the absurdity that causes 2V and 3V four events to be favored over a 1V lightweight event.


Anonymous said...

Santa Clara raced Cal at the Sacramento Invite a few weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Being invited to an NCAA championship is a big deal. Take a look at the men's and women's basketball tourneys. A lot of teams were thrilled to make it to the first round.

If UCF makes it the NCAA Regatta, the racing will be the best and most intense experience of their college careers. Good luck to them.

Anonymous said...

Are you really comparing the NCAA basketball tournament to the NCAA openweight women's rowing championship? There's really no comparison...

And I don't think you can say that the racing UCF would see at NCAAs would be any better than, say, the racing they had at IRAs last year. In the heats, they beat Wisconsin by 1/20th of a second and lost to Princeton by just barely more than 1 second. It doesn't get much closer (aka more intense) than that.

Anonymous said...

NCAAs is definitely a better race than IRAs from an event standpoint. And of course there is the collegiate and national recognition of any sport, any team, earning an invitation to the NCAA championship. It is a big deal, but JW Burk is right that college programs are forced to favor heavyweight rowing because of the recognition that the NCAA brings to the sport.
There should be lightweight V8 and V4 events at NCAAs, not as part of the heavyweight team event, but as an entirely other category, they same way DII and DIII programs have their own championship. From what I can tell, there are far more competitive Lightweight programs than there are DII programs. Athletic departments understand NCAAs.
Lightweight women rowers make the LtV8 grand final at IRAs great. The IRA does not make women's lightweight rowing great. The NCAA, should it choose to do so, has the ability to make lightweight rowing phenomonal.

Anonymous said...

Yes. I am comparing the NCAA regatta to the basketball tourney.

If any of the UCF lightweights make a boat and race at NCAA's, they will step up to a higher level of intensity than they have ever experienced.