Men’s Crew Finishes Second in Team Points at IRA National Championship; Bears Claim Third in Varsity Eight

Men’s Crew Finishes Second in Team Points at IRA National Championship; Bears Claim Third in Varsity Eight

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GOLD RIVER, Calif. – The Brown men's crew climbed back from an early deficit to claim third in the varsity eight grand final, and the second varsity and freshman eight finished second overall, as a total of four boats earned medals on the final day of the three-day 2013 IRA National Championship Sunday on Lake Natoma.

"I thought it was a really strong team performance," said head coach Paul Cooke. "It wasn't out of line of what we did at Eastern Sprints, but to do it again in a stronger field with all the crews from the West, I was really proud of how the guys performed." 

Washington won the varsity eight for the third straight year, while Brown joined the Huskies and California as the only three programs to advance all five boats to the grand finals. In addition, Brown was the only team from the East to advance all five crews to the finals.

Brown racked up 182 points to finish second behind Washington in the Jim Ten Eyck Memorial Trophy, awarded to the school with the most team points. This also marks the program's highest point total since the IRA Regatta officially decided the sport's national collegiate championship in 1997. 

"It seemed like one part of the team would feed off the performances of the next and it was really neat to see how the team did that, " said Cooke, who praised the team's depth in the overall point total. "To have the young guys learning and racing at the level they are racing makes it so much fun to go to the next step, and have that lead to the next year. If we can do that well, that makes the program strong for years."

In the varsity eight grand final, Harvard opened with a strong lead out of the blocks, while Brown fell to sixth, nearly a half-length behind the rest of the field at the 500-meter mark. Washington took over the lead by the midway point, leaving Harvard as a strong second while Northeastern crept into the third position. Brown had to make up after the slow start, holding fifth place at 1,500 meters, but with an outstanding final sprint the Bears shocked the rest of the field and challenged Northeastern for a medal. Brown cruised past Cal and inched past the Huskies at the finish line to pull off an impressive comeback for third at 5:42.78.

In the varsity four grand final, Cornell raced out to an aggressive lead over Washington, Brown and California, but Washington moved out in front shortly after the first 500 meters. Cornell started to drop off closely after the midway mark, allowing Brown to take possession of third place behind Washington and Cal, but Boston University took the opportunity to make a move on the Bears for a medal. BU eventually caught up to Brown with 500 meters remaining as the two East rivals battled for third, but in the end the Bears held on for the narrow third-place finish at 6:32.77.

Washington started with the early lead in the freshman eight grand final, holding a narrow lead over Penn, but the Quakers quickly fell off as Brown and Harvard pulled level late in the pack. Washington expanded its lead to a full length at 750 meters and eventually held open water over Cal with Cornell not far behind in third. From there, Brown and Harvard made a strong push as the two boats fought Cal for second place. At 1,300 meters, the Bears were just two seats back of Cal and quickly moved into second before fighting off the Gold Bears down the stretch to claim runner-up at 5:57.73.

Washington kicked off the second varsity grand final with a powerful start, opening a seven-seat lead over the rest of the field at 200 meters. Brown and Princeton battled for second before the Bears took a strong lead over the Tigers. Washington held a full length over Brown at 1,000 meters, but the Bears were safe in second with a half-length over Princeton. From there, Cal stormed up from fourth to pass Princeton and go head-to-head with Brown as the two crews were pretty much locked heading into the final 100 meters. In the end, Brown crossed first to hold off the Golden Bears and claim second at 5:54.16.

Brown kicked off the final day with the open four grand final as Washington, California and Northeastern jumped out to the early advantage off the blocks. The Bears started out in fifth, but slowly chipped away to move past Navy and comfortably in fourth place. Brown challenged Cal for third down the stretch, but the Golden Bears were able to fend off the attack as the Bears finished fourth in a time of 6:38.76. Washington won the race at 6:30.70.


Open Four – Grand Final

1. Washington - 6:30.70      

2. Northeastern - 6:32.01

3. California - 6:35.94

4. Brown - 6:38.76

5. Navy - 6:47.67

6. Oregon State - 6:49.11


Varsity Four – Grand Final

1. Washington - 6:26.49

2. California - 6:26.79

3. Brown - 6:32.77

4. Boston U. - 6:33.83

5. Cornell - 6:39.19

6. Wisconsin - 6:40.12


Freshman Eight – Grand Final

1. Washington - 5:52.77

2. Brown - 5:57.73

3. California - 5:58.95

4. Cornell - 5:59.51

5. Harvard - 6:02.42

6. Penn - 6:13.13


Second Varsity – Grand Final

1. Washington - 5:51.07

2. Brown - 5:54.16

3. California - 5:54.78

4. Princeton - 5:54.99

5. Boston U. - 5:55.41

6. Northeastern - 6:01.68


Varsity Eight – Grand Final

1. Washington - 5:39.68

2. Harvard - 5:42.25

3. Brown - 5:42.54

4. Northeastern - 5:42.72

5. California - 5:45.07

6. Princeton - 5:49.55