Thursday, April 26, 2007

Racing This Weekend - Midwest Melodrama

The number one crew in the country stays relatively close to home as they travel to Indianapolis to take on Stanford, Georgetown, and host Ohio State. This is the same day as the Indianapolis Invitational so perhaps this race has been inserted into the schedule (or will just take advantage of a buoyed course?). I've also seen this referred to as a double dual, so I'm not sure of the race format, but I hope all boats will be able to race one another.

As expected, this is the biggest non-regatta race of the season. On paper, the Hoyas and the Cardinal are extremely closely matched, and both should have a chance to overtake Wisconsin. The Buckeyes haven't raced crews the caliber of the other three, so they'll want to prove they belong. In previous races Georgetown was 11 seconds behind Wisco and 5.5 seconds behind Princeton. Stanford was 3 seconds behind the Tigers. OSU is untested among the top programs. It's tempting to say Wisco over Stanford by 8.5 seconds, but we all know things don't work that way. Everyone is getting faster here, we just don't know who is improving the most. Wisconsin is clearly the favorite, but I wouldn't expect an easy row. Stanford vs Georgetown should be a barnburner. And OSU, the host, may have a few tricks up its sleeve. This race will give us a much better idea of relative strengths heading into Sprints and Dad Vails.

In Boston, Radcliffe hosts Princeton to decide who takes home the Class of 1999 Cup. In what has been a rebuilding year for Radcliffe, the Black and White could upset the applecart with a win on Saturday. Although at Knecht Radcliffe was 11 seconds back from Georgetown, this is as close to a rivalry race as these two schools get. When the only two Ivy schools with lightweight programs (a disgrace for the Ivy League) race, things don't always turn out as expected. No one knows this better than Radcliffe who went into last year's race as strong favorites, but saw Princeton take the Cup. The 2Vs should provide good racing as I think this will be the first straight 2V lightweight race for Radcliffe. Both boats are relatively unknown to each other and are likely to provide tight racing. The Radcliffe freshmen get another chance to continue their undefeated season. Until last weekend's loss, Princeton looked like the only boat with a chance to bring down the Cantab frosh. That defeat, however, may have only served to make the young Tigers more determined.

WIRAs take place this weekend on Lake Natoma (a future IRA site?). There are strong light four (10 entries) and eight (6 entries) fields. In the light four, Cal, USD, Long Beach State, Willamette, Mills College, Humboldt State, UCSD, Santa Clara, LMU, and Pacific Lutheran will face off. Several of these fours have run into each other earlier in the season, with Long Beach State, Humboldt, PLU, and UCSD showing some speed. Long Beach State may be headed into this race as the favorite, but LMU has an excellent program (I just don't think we've seen them race a four yet) and with some injury and weight issues holding PLU out of the eight, they'll be concentrating on creating a fast four.

In the eight, LMU, Long Beach State, Arizona State, Cal, UCSD, and Chapman are entered. The pecking order has been established among all of these teams except Cal, and this will be an excellent time to disrupt the rankings. Cal has been uneven this season, no doubt the result of injury struggles, and it's not clear where they fall among these crews. I'd say this championship will come down to Cal and LMU and judging by speed relative to Stanford, it should be Cal's. In any case, it should be a good, close race. This kind of turnout is only surpassed by the Knecht Cup and IRAs (for eights), and shows that the West Coast is really starting to become a force in lightweight rowing. A West Coast IRA should only help that process.

At the West Virginia Governor's Cup in Charleston, WV, a five boat lightweight four event is scheduled. Carnegie Mellon, Cleveland State, Wittenburg, and two Duquesne boats are entered. I'm not sure we've seen Cleveland State or Wittenburg race before, but we have seen CMU and Duquesne crank for 2000 meters. At Knecht, Duquesne edged by CMU by 0.2 seconds. Think the Tartan crew is looking forward to this rematch?

The Indianapolis Invitational occasionally has light eights entered in the 2V event. Last year Ohio State, Miami, and Michigan State entered light eights. This year, of course, OSU will be racing Wisconsin, et al.

Last year a couple of light fours raced at the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Rowing Association Spring Championship, the 2007 version of which is scheduled for this weekend in NY.


Anonymous said...

The Wisco-Georgetown-Stanford-OSU race is taking place as part of the Indy Invite. The race had originally been the Wisco-Georgetown duel, and they were looking for a place to have it. Originally it was going to be in Columbus (with OSU joining in), but due to a scheduling conflict, it needed a new location. Fortunately, the folks at Indy were able to add it to the schedule. It should be exciting racing!

Anonymous said...

Light 4 at Indy is at 12:40 saturday with northwestern, wisco, stanford, osu, g'town.

Light 8 is at 2:30 with wisco, stanford, osu, gtown.

There is a Purdue lightweight boat entered as the b boat in the novice 4 race at 2:10.

Much thanks to the Indy organizers for adding us in!

Anonymous said...

Bucknell lightweights raced:

Anonymous said...

1. wisconsin
2. stanford
3. georgetown