Yale successfully defended its varsity heavyweight eight title to highlight the 71st Eastern Sprints Regatta held amid chilly, blustery conditions on Lake Quinsigamond yesterday.
The top two finishers in the three morning heats booked a spot in the afternoon heavyweight final, and Northeastern drew arguably the most difficult lot. The Huskies paid the price, finishing third against brutal competitors Yale and Cornell. NU clocked 5:47.76, to miss qualifying by 2.14 seconds behind runner-up Cornell.
Boston University, which enjoyed a superb regatta, was second (5:56.12) in its heat behind Princeton (5:52.15). Harvard (5:55.49) won its heat comfortably ahead of Wisconsin (5:57.15).
The heavyweight final saw Harvard off the line fast with BU on the far side, also out quick. Prohibitive favorite Yale would have none of it and soon asserted control, opening a 7-seat gap that it held for the rest of the face. The Bulldogs, rowing at 34-35 strokes-per-minute, finished comfortably in first in 5:37.4, followed by Princeton (5:39.83), Brown (5:40.64), Harvard (5:42.53), Cornell (5:43.72), and BU (5:47.41).
“The guys came off the water and they didn’t roll over. They just didn’t have the muscle in these tough conditions,” said BU coach Thomas Bohrer. “So I’m disappointed we didn’t place higher to get medals, but I’m not disappointed in the effort by our guys.”
In one of the tightest races of the day, Harvard (5:48.68) edged Princeton by 0.02 of a second to captured the second varsity heavyweight eight final. BU (5:53.01) took a solid third in an equally close finish over fourth-place Brown (5:53.38).
“It’s what we’ve seen from them in practice. They’ve been tremendous. They’re ranked No. 1 because they have a good start, a good close, and good base. They have the heart of lions, basically,” said Harvard coach Charley Butt. “Who could be more proud? But, frankly, both crews performed tremendously, and to see BU come third in Lane 6 is a tremendous achievement on their part, too.
This article originally appeared at http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/college/2016/05/yale_repeats_as_eastern_sprints_rowing_champion