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Heavyweight Crew Wins Two Silvers

By Robert Lentz
and Karl Richter
team members

The MIT varsity heavyweight crew team medaled in every event they entered this weekend at the Head of the Ohio regatta in Pittsburgh. The heavyweights have not finished this strongly at the Ohio in the eight years MIT has attended.

Coach Gordon Hamilton was especially pleased with these best ever finishes given the relative inexperience of this year's first boat. With six sophomores, one junior and two seniors, the boat was perhaps the youngest boat that MIT ever fielded.

Many oarsmen from last year's top 10 nationally ranked freshman eight rose straight into the first boat. From bow to stern the boat consisted of Dan Parker '99, Shane Wu '99, Brian Smith '97, Charley Able '97, Karsten Kallevig '99, Mike Perry '99, Robert Lentz '98, Karl Richter '99, and coxswain Jen Lykens '99. First boat veterans Smith and team captain Lentz added continuity to the sophomore enthusiasm.

MIT soundly beat conference rival Cornell University across the board in all races. A powerful Brown University team was the only crew to beat the Engineers all day. The experienced Brown eight included an oarsman who had rowed in the U.S. national eight at the Olympics this summer.

Jittery about the first race of the season, the MIT eight covered the course in 11:17, 40 seconds off the course record-setting Brown crew. However, this was still fast enough to edge out Cornell, University of Michigan, and the rest of the field for the silver.

In the frenzied 500-meter sprint event later in the morning, MIT moved quickly on the competition, taking an easy second place with a half-length lead on the field midway through the race. Brown anticipated the start well and held off the Engineers for the rest of the race, to finish with a course record of 1:21.

MIT crossed the line in 1:24, two seconds ahead of the next crew. This sprint was a welcome departure from the lengthy races typical of the fall racing season.

After this race the eight split up into two fours to race in the fours competition. MIT's boats placed within 2.5 seconds of each other, beating out 20 other crews for third and fourth places.

Both fours felt they had much better races than in the eight and improved from earlier in the day to finish within 20 seconds of Brown.

These races at the Head of the Ohio provide encouragement heading into the New Hampshire championships this weekend and the Head of the Charles on Oct. 20.