May 11, 2009

Brown Claws Past Harvard for the Title

May 11, 2009

WORCESTER -- Paul Cooke's Brown University crew team is so deep that he often shuffles his lineups on a daily basis. So it should come as no surprise that the seats on his best boat weren't filled until Thursday.

Few would argue with the results, however, after the Bears won the varsity heavyweight eight title and overall team championship at yesterday's Eastern Sprints regatta at Lake Quinsigamond.

In the final event of the day, Brown upset the two favorites -- Harvard and defending champion Wisconsin -- to complete a sweep of the top three races.

The Bears also won the second varsity eight and freshman eight titles to capture the Rowe Cup, awarded to the heavyweight points leader, their sixth in program history and first since 2000.

Brown was also awarded the Ivy Cup for being the top Ivy League team.

"It feels pretty amazing. When it rains, it pours," Cooke said.

With steady winds between 20-30 mph, and gusts up to 45 mph, the Bears managed to stay on a surprisingly smooth line over the 2,000-meter course.

"It was certainly a factor in the racing. We talked to the team about handling the gusts as best we could," Cooke said. "On this course, that often plays a part, and we tried to handle that as best we could."

In the second varsity heavyweight eight final, Brown pulled away over the last 1,000 meters to beat Wisconsin by more than four seconds.

In the varsity heavyweight eight final, though, the Bears needed a rally. Brown trailed Harvard by four seats early, pulled even over the last 500, then took a five-seat lead over the Crimson at the finish line, crossing in a time of 5:41.36.

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