Men’s Crew Advances All Five Boats to Grand Finals on Day Two at IRA Championship

Men’s Crew Advances All Five Boats to Grand Finals on Day Two at IRA Championship

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WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The No. 4 Brown men's crew put together an impressive showing on day two of the IRA National Championships as the Bears advanced all five boats to the grand finals Saturday on Mercer Lake.

Brown is one of just three programs, and the only program from the East, to advance all five crews to Sunday's grand finals. Defending national champion Washington and California also sent five boats to the finals.

"I was pleased that the guys kept their composure," said head coach Paul Cooke. "All of the crews raced well. Everyone making the grand finals is a big accomplishment. The whole team has worked hard to get there, it's a hard-working group and it's great to see them do that."

Brown opened the second day of competition in the varsity four, as the Bears advanced into the semifinal round after a win in a repechage on Friday afternoon. California benefited from a big start and held a deck lead over Georgetown, Navy and Brown at 250 meters. Brown then began to make a push up the pack and moved into second place with about a two-seat lead over Georgetown. The Bears then attacked Cal at the midway point as four boats fought for three spots in the grand final, but the Golden Bears controlled the field with a two-third of a length advantage over Bruno and captured the victory at 6:39.59. Brown took second at 6:42.51 and will join Cal, Georgetown, Washington, Boston University and Wisconsin in the grand final Sunday at 9:20 a.m.

The second repechage of the freshman eight featured four boats with the top two advancing to the grand final. The event was headlined by Brown and Harvard, which finished first and second, respectively, two weeks ago at the Eastern Sprints. As expected, the Bears and Crimson took a strong break off the finish line and had a clear-cut lead over fellow Ivy rivals Columbia and Penn at 250 meters. Brown and Harvard went back-and-forth between one seat and level, before the Bears took control for a three-seat advantage. Brown extended its lead to about a quarter length at 1,000 meters and cruised to victory at 5:55.7, while the Crimson placed second. Brown will join Harvard, Cal, Washington, Cornell and Wisconsin in the grand final Sunday at 11:10 a.m.

In the third varsity semifinal, the trio of California, Navy and Brown roared off the starting line. Before long, Cal established a three-seat lead over Brown, but the two boats broke free from the rest of the field. Brown continued to fight and pulled within a few seats of Cal, as the two boats held about a length over Princeton and Dartmouth, respectively. After Cal moved out in front about a half-length at the midway point, the Bears felt some pressure from Princeton, but answered with an eventual two-third of a length advantage, securing second place in a time of 6:01.48. Brown qualified directly to the grand final, along with Boston University, Northeastern, Washington, Cal and Princeton. That event is set to start on Sunday at 10:50 a.m.

The first semifinal in the second varsity featured a strong start all around, but once everything settled down, California had a two-seat lead over Princeton, followed closely by Cornell and Brown in third and fourth. The Golden Bears had about a half a length advantage at the 750-meter mark, followed by Cornell with a few feet over Brown, as Princeton fell back to fourth place. The three crews behind Cal were all fairly deadlocked by the midway point, but shortly after the 1,000 meters, Brown and Princeton moved ahead of Cornell to secure a top-three finish. Princeton made a strong push down the stretch to take second at 5:58.08, narrowly edging the Bears at 5:58.33. Nevertheless, Brown advanced to the fourth grand final of the day.

The first semifinal for the varsity eight was made up of a highly competitive field, including three-time defending national champion Washington, along with Brown, California, Northeastern, Navy and Columbia. Cal nosed off the front line and held on for the advantage, followed closely by Brown and Washington. After Cal built a deck lead over the field, Brown secured second with about three seats over Washington, while Northeastern fell back to a distant fourth. Brown challenged Cal up until right before the 1,000-meter mark, but then Washington pulled even with Brown shortly after the midway point, before the Huskies moved into second place at 1,300 meters. With the top three crews moving on the grand finals, Brown cruised into third place behind the two West Coast schools, crossing in a time of 5:53.12. The Bears advanced to tomorrow's grand final with Cal, Washington, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

"We knew it was going to be a very hotly-contested race," said senior coxswain William Quirk (Rumson, N.J.). "It was exciting to establish a solid second, third place spot early on and hold that down the course. We look forward to building each day, to put together that complete race, from start to finish."

The Bears return to action for the third and final day of the IRAs on Sunday, June 1 on Mercer Lake. For more information, videos, recaps, photos and continued coverage, please visit

Saturday Results
V4 – S2 (top 3 to GF)
1          CALIFORNIA - 6:39.598
2          BROWN - 6:42.512
3          GEORGETOWN - 6:43.483
4          NAVY - 6:46.377
5          NORTHEASTERN - 6:49.142
6          COLGATE - 6:59.745 

F8 – R2 (top 2 to GF)
1          BROWN - 5:55.779
2          HARVARD - 5:59.576
3          COLUMBIA - 6:18.763
4          PENNSYLVANIA - 6:23.289 

3V – S1 (top 3 to GF)
1          CALIFORNIA - 5:57.023
2          BROWN - 6:01.485
3          PRINCETON - 6:02.931
4          DARTMOUTH - 6:05.306
5          SYRACUSE - 6:13.424
6          NAVY - 6:15.700 

2V – S1 (top 3 to GF)
1          CALIFORNIA - 5:56.044
2          PRINCETON - 5:58.087
3          BROWN - 5:58.331
4          CORNELL - 6:05.210
5          WISCONSIN - 6:06.731
6          YALE - 6:08.509 

V8 – S1 (top 3 to GF)
1          CALIFORNIA - 5:47.397
2          WASHINGTON - 5:49.863
3          BROWN - 5:53.127
4          NORTHEASTERN - 5:55.225
5          NAVY - 5:58.154
6          COLUMBIA - 6:03.831