Saturday, May 12, 2007

2007 Dad Vail - Eights

Coming to the final of the light eight through heats this year, must have made each boat hungrier for the ultimate win. It certainly made them race that way.

After a clean start, the the fates first turned against Buffalo. As the Bulls, who were in third place at the time, made the turn under Strawberry Mansion, they hit a buoy and fell immediately into fifth place. Right after the bridge Ohio State was up, Long Beach State was second, and Lehigh was now third. By the 1000 meter mark, Buffalo had begun a fierce comeback and was trying to move into fourth. At 750 Long Beach State had taken over the lead, followed by OSU, UMass, Lehigh, Buffalo, and Penn State.

By the start of the island Lehigh had moved into third and the hard charging Bulls followed through UMass and took over fourth. The race was now in its final throes. Ohio State and Long Beach State began trading the lead as each one willed itself to the finish line. By 250 to go, Ohio State had put on an incredible move to pull almost 3/4 of a length ahead of LBS. The Buckeyes walked away in such decisive fashion that you could almost hear the oars chunking the boat forward. Long Beach State fought valiantly but had no answer. OSU won the gold by 4 seconds over LBS, who was followed a little over 6 seconds later by hard charging Buffalo. Lehigh was fourth, followed by UMass and Penn State.

Ohio State's victory was something of a renaissance for this crew. Without a lot of lightweight races, other than facing murderers' row in Indianapolis, it was hard to know how fast the crew really was. Now we know. Long Beach State is one of the top crews on the West Coast and Buffalo had been surging lately. This was an exciting, hard fought race and the Buckeyes can be proud of their gold medals. Now, we can only hope, it's on to IRAs.

Long Beach State made a long trip east and almost came away with the win. This crew has had its share of tough losses this season, but they should pay off next year. LBS represented the West Coast admirably and the Dad Vail was lucky to have them. Short of the Sprints league crews, they beat the best the east has to offer, save one. Hopefully this is the start of a tradition. It would be nice to see LBS at IRAs, but I suspect two cross-country trips may be asking a bit too much.

Buffalo, meanwhile, proved itself to be one of the best crews in the east. They had a tough break hitting the buoy, but showed tremendous heart pulling themselves back through the field. The Bulls obviously would have been closer to the two leaders with a clean run. Buffalo too, has earned themselves a trip to Camden, and I hope we see them there.

The Dad Vail results have certainly mixed up the lower end of the national rankings. Buffalo was ranked far ahead of OSU, who was ranked ahead of unranked Long Beach State. This should break both OSU and LBS into the top ten, or very close to it.

It's always fun to watch happy crews on the awards dock, and Ohio State was no exception. Head Coach Hugh Dodd was on the dock enjoying the first of what he hopes will be many Dad Vail championships. It's nice to win one in your first season with the team! Former coach Peter Steenstra also made the scene, jumping down from the grandstands for quick congratulations just before the boat shoved off.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dayton took silver in the women's jv heavyweight 8, a boat probably filled with lightweights.