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Lightweight, Women's Crews Win MIT Invitational Regatta

By Erik S. Balsley
associate spOrts editor

Saturday morning all crew teams in the boathouse except for the varsity heavyweights participated in the MIT Invitational Regatta and performed well. The varsity lightweights and novice women in particular had strong showing as each team won its respective event.

The lightweight win marked the first time in many years that the MIT lightweights won their race in the regatta. The race, which began at the MIT boathouse and ended 4,000 meters upriver at Harvard University's Newell Boathouse, provided the teams with the toughest competition they have faced thus far in the fall racing season.

The varsity lightweights were in the first race of the day, which began at 7:45 a.m. The varsity lightweight boat began second about 120 feet behind Boston College.

Although they started a good distance behind BC, the Engineers caught up to their competitors by the Boston University Bridge, about 800 meters into the course.

However, after this bridge, the course enters a long turn around Magazine Beach and then straightens out before it makes a few more turns before the finish line. Although the Engineers were the faster crew, they were required to pass BC on the outside of all these turns.

As a result MIT was not able to pass BC before the race ended. However, the Engineers continued to drive against BC and were able to overlap them at the finish by five seats.

As Boston College started ahead of MIT, the first varsity lightweight boat - made up from bow to stern of Jason Switzer G, Dan Frisk '99, Erik Balsley G, Paul Oppold '99, Jean-Paul Folch '97, Chris Liu '98, Torrey Radcliffe '97, Garrett Shook '97, and Joe Irineo '98 as coxswain - knew they had beaten BC when they finished the race. However, it was still possible that other crews that started behind them had rowed the course in a faster time.

As it turned out, no other crew was able to beat the Engineers' 12:57 second time. The closest challenger was BC, seven seconds behind. The second varsity boat also participated in the race and finished in ninth place finish 13:54.

The next race to come down the course was the varsity women's eight race. The varsity women's A boat - made up from bow to stern of Youjeoung Kim '97, Susan Dey '98, Amy Gieffers '97, Alicia Hardy '99, Mariah Luff '99, Arlene Frech '97, Sabina Ma '99, Tyra Rivkin '99, and Margo Harbaugh '98 - finished the course in 15:05 to finish in fifth place. MIT's B and C boats also finished in places 8 and 10, with times of 15:44 and 16:06, respectively.

The first two places in the race were won by two Boston College crews, and third was taken by the College of the Holy Cross. Although they had beaten Simmons College earlier this fall, the Engineers were beaten this time by Simmons, who was able to finish ahead of the Engineers in fourth place with a time of 15:02.

Mayrene Earle, the women's varsity coach, said that the team "felt they have raced better than they have all fall but realized that they have a lot of conditioning and strength-training work ahead of them."

The race course remained active through the morning and continued as the novice men's eight event rowed down the course. Tufts University won the race by a seven-second margin in a time of 13:50.

Although they did not win, the first novice heavyweight boat finished in a strong second place in a time of 13:57. MIT's first novice lightweight eight clinched third place in a time of 14:20.

MIT also had novice lightweight boats finish in 7th, 14th, and 16th, while the novice heavyweights also had a 15th place finish in a 17-boat race.

The final race of the day was the novice women's event, which was won by both Tufts University and MIT. The first novice boat rowed strongly to finish the race in 15:56, a full minute ahead of third-place finisher Wellesley College. The women's novice team dominated the field of 18 boats to also finish 5th, 7th, 9th, and 13th.

Overall, MIT made a strong showing in the Invitational against some perennially tough competitors. All teams in the boathouse are training hard in order to improve on their performances in the last race of the fall season - the Foot of the Charles - on Saturday, Nov. 23.