Thursday, April 19, 2007

Races This Weekend

This weekend's top race takes place in Washington, DC, where the Georgetown Hoyas welcome the Princeton Tigers. The two crews meet for the first time in a sprint race since last season, when Georgetown defeated Princeton 2 out of 3 times. Princeton comes into this race as the favorite, but that status is based entirely on two fall races, which happened a long time ago. If you want to know how little those races mean now, just ask the Hoyas who lost to both Radcliffe and MIT at the Charles. The coaches seem to reflect conventional wisdom and have Georgetown ranked fourth, a fair amount back from the Tigers. cMax, however, tells a different story as the Hoyas are ranked third, and predicted to be only about 4 seconds back, a margin similar to Stanford's vs Princeton. Add in the fact that the Hoyas are racing on home water and I'll take Georgetown and those four seconds. In fact, I think this race is a toss-up. Either way, it's a critical race for the Tigers, as it's the first Sprints school they've met this season. The outcome here will be used by everyone to measure an enigmatic Tiger boat against the top of the lightweight field. By the way, Stanford should be cheering for Princeton here since they almost rowed down the Tigers at Windermere. A fast Princeton boat means a fast Stanford boat. This is one race I'd like to see.

In Boston, Radcliffe faces MIT. This race provides a perfect opportunity for MIT to regain some of the momentum they lost last weekend. The Engineers have some talent and it will resurface sooner or later, with this weekend's race against a hometown rival a likely time. Radcliffe who, as we heard, is experimenting with lineups and techniques, will want to nail down the special sauce recipe before Princeton comes to town. A strong outing here may do that. With a fours race on tap, MIT will bring an undefeated boat to the line. On paper, the eight should be a Radcliffe win. With some motivated MIT rowers showing up, I don't think it will be so easy. And, given the MIT novice's performance last weekend, they may even give the Radcliffe freshmen a race.

Back at Cooper River this weekend is the Atlantic 10 Championship. Given who we've seen race eights so far this season, we could have a four boat light eight event with UMass, Dayton, Temple, and Duquesne. If that's the race, we could have quite a battle. UMass and Duquesne should be close and although Dayton was back from Duquesne at Knecht, racing with fresher legs may pull them right into the fray. Temple, with a lot of novices in the boat, is getting faster, but probably won't be able to hang with the other three. A light four will be contested as well, although it's not clear who we might see there. I should note that the A10 championships are one of the few regattas of which I'm aware that award points for lightweight events that count toward the championship. If more championships did this we'd have more lightweight boats. That's an easy one.

SIRAs take place in Oak Ridge, TN this weekend, and include a light V4 and a light N4. Warren Wilson, Purdue, Chattanooga, College of Charleston, and Auburn will race in the novice event, while Auburn, Georgia, and Clemson will race in the varsity four. We've seen the V4 race before, at SERCS, which was won by Georgia. Virginia Tech was originally the lone entry in the light eight. I don't know if they're still coming (I believe only two boats are making the trip), but it would be an awful shame if they were still willing to race and no one stepped up to provide a challenge. I wonder if there are lightweight boats racing as heavies who could help keep their own category alive.

Wisconsin turns out the entire boathouse on Saturday for the Midwest Championships. I did my Ode to the Midwest Sprints last year so I won't repeat it again. I'll simply note another once great regional championship brought nearly to the point of ruin by the NCAA (the guardians of our collective collegiate athletic heritage).

In Redwood Shores, Stanford takes on Cal in the lightweight version of The Big Row. Cal is just now recovering from some injuries and certainly has their work cut out for them. I think Stanford will have bragging rights for another year, although not for lack of effort by a valiant Cal crew.

The NCRC Championship will be held Saturday on Lake Stevens, WA. There's no schedule so I'm not sure if there will be any lightweight events, although there will be crews there who have raced lightweights previously. Teams include PLU, SPU, Lewis & Clark, Puget Sound, and Willamette. Last year there was a light four event. As an aside, the current Pacific Lutheran Athlete Spotlight is a lightweight rower, Audrey Knutson. (I'm dying for a Mr. Green Jeans sandwich!)

Finally, another rivalry row takes place Saturday, this one in Pennsylvania, as Lehigh takes on Lafayette. I'm not sure if Lafayette has a full light eight, but they do have a four, which should provide good competition for Lehigh.


Anonymous said...

Virginia Tech's lightweight 8+ was going to race in the JV 8+ race at SIRA since no other schools had entered the light 8+. However, given the circumstances this week, they are now racing only a Varsity 8+, which will contain several members of the lightweight crew.

Anonymous said...

I'm excited to see the results for Midwest Sprints. There are some smaller, yet still competitive colleges thrown in there this year.

Anonymous said...

At weigh-in's we were given the official schedule for A10's. There is only one race for both LW8 and LW4. Lightweight eights are: Dayton, Duquesne, UMass, and TU. Lightweight fours are: UMass, LaSalle, URI, and Duquesne.

Anonymous said...

NCRC Championships the local regatta weigh in officals failed to qualfiy 4 of the 7 entries for the lwt4, leaving a field of 3 schools WU, PLU and SPU, with
1st PLU 1
2nd Willemette(WU- Salem OR)
3rd Seattle Pacific(SPU -Seattle WA)

PLU will not race a Wlwt8 at the WIRA regaionasl on 4/28 due to injury/weigh in struggles