May 17, 2006

#4 Bears Going For Gold At 2006 Eastern Sprints

May 17, 2006

Worcester, MA - The EARC has announced the schedule for the 2006 Eastern Sprints, which will be held this Sunday on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, MA. The Bears fourth ranked varsity eight is the number two seed behind Princeton, its highest seeding at the Sprints since 2001.Brown will be racing in a total of four events, three of which it is seeded in the top three.

"We are excited about what the team has accomplished in the dual races this season," said Head Coach Paul Cooke. "As a whole, this is the fastest team that we have sent to the Sprints since 2001. We know that the standard of racing in Worcester will be very high though and we will be focusing on putting together our best performances for Sunday."

Brown's varsity eight last won the Eastern Sprints title in 2000 but the highlight at the last two Sprints has been the Bears freshman crews. Last season, the Bears took the gold medal in both freshman eight events while in 2004, the second freshman eight captured gold. Four of the rowers from last year's undefeated freshman eight have been bumped up to the varsity eight boat this season, making the Brown crew one of the youngest in the country.

Patrick Yu (coxswain) and Steve Van Knotsenburg (four) are the two lone seniors on the team this season. The rest of the varsity eight is comprised of juniors Joe Donahue (stroke), Ben Harrison (six) and Dave Coughlin (five), along with sophomores Colin Keogh (seven), Ryan McShane (three), Chris Greene (two) and Paul Strombom (bow).

The spring season began on a high note as Brown handed three-time defending national champion Harvard its first loss in three years. The Bears went on to win its next two races before falling to top-ranked Princeton. A win over a solid Boston University crew wrapped up the regular season for Brown as it finished with a 4-1 record.

The varsity eight will be the top seed in heat two of the Sprints on Sunday with the Tigers racing in heat one. Brown's toughest competition in the heat, which is scheduled for 11:48 a.m., should be fifth seeded Northeastern. The Bears defeated the Huskies by a 6.2 second margin during the regular season. Also featured in the heat will be eighth seeded Boston University, 11th seeded Cornell, 14th seeded Rutgers and unseeded Holy Cross. Harvard received the third overall seed in the varsity eight while Wisconsin is fourth. Lane assignments will go in order of seed, putting the Bears in lane one.

The two finishers from each heat will advance to the grand final, scheduled for 6 p.m. The third and fourth place finishers in each heat will compete in the petite final at 5:30 p.m. The rest will race in the third level final at 5:15 p.m.

Brown's second varsity eight is seeded third overall behind Harvard and Northeastern. The crew will race in lane one of heat three at 11:00 a.m. Fourth seeded Wisconsin will be stationed next to Brown in lane two with ninth seeded Navy, 10th seeded Cornell and 15th seeded MIT rounding out the field. Brown has not seen action against any of the crews in its heat. The grand final of the second varsity eight will be held at 4:48 p.m., following the petite final at 4:33 p.m. and the third level final at 4:18 p.m.

Brown will take part in the third varsity/second freshman four event scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Since there are only six entries total, there will be no advancing heats and the winner of the race will earn the gold medal. The Bears will be in lane three next to Delaware and the first of two Georgetown boats. On the other side of Brown in lanes four thru six will be Boston University, Northeastern and Georgetown's second boat. The Bears finished third behind two Northeastern boats during the regular season but did defeat the Terriers in the last race of the season.

Coach Luke McGee's freshman eight has earned a number two seed behind Harvard this season. The Bears will race in lane one of heat two scheduled for 9:48 a.m. Next to the Bears will be fifth seeded Northeastern, seventh seeded Wisconsin, 11th seeded Rutgers, and 14th seeded Syracuse. During the regular season, Brown edged out Northeastern to earn its first victory of the season. Like the varsity eight, the freshman eight closed out the season with a 4-1 record, winning its last four races of the year. Top ranked Harvard defeated the Bears in the spring opener. The grand final of the freshman eight event will take place at 3:36 p.m. following the petite final at 3:21 p.m. and third level final at 3:06 p.m.

Overall, Brown's varsity eight has won five gold medals at the Eastern Sprints since the event began in 1946. The second varsity eight has racked up seven gold medals while the first freshman eight have captured five, including one in 2005.

2006 EARC Sprints Schedule (Brown events only)
Morning Heats
Freshman Eight Morning Heat: 9:48 a.m.
Second Varsity Eight Morning Heat: 11:00 a.m.
Varsity Eight Morning Heat: 11:48 a.m.

Finals Schedule
Third Varsity/Second Freshman Four Grand Final: 9:00 a.m.
Freshman Eight Finals: Third Level-3:06 p.m., Petite-3:21 p.m., Grand-3:36 p.m.
Second Varsity Eight Finals: Third Level-4:18 p.m.. Petite-4:33 p.m., Grand-4:48 p.m.
Varsity Eight Finals: Third Level-5:15 p.m., Petite-5:30 p.m., Grand-6:00 p.m.

Directions to Lake Quinsigamond