Heavyweight Crews Finish Fall StronglyBy Robert Lentz and Karl Richter
The varsity heavyweight crew team finished a successful fall racing season with strong performances in the Foot of the Charles regatta Saturday morning.
The varsity crews from New England's best rowing colleges raced the 2.4-mile distance from MIT's Pierce Boathouse to Harvard's Newell Boathouse in fours, while the freshmen competed for the first time against Division I rivals in eights.
Heavyweight Varsity Coach Gordon Hamilton said he was "very pleased with the varsity results, especially for this year's young crew."
The heavyweight A four of Dan Parker '99, Shane Wu '99, Mike Perry '99, Robert Lentz '98, and Jen Lykens '99 (coxswain), finished seventh among the college crews with a time of 13:44. Harvard University won the varsity fours event in a time of 13:10, followed by Dartmouth College and Northeastern University.
This finish puts the MIT four, with three sophomore oarsmen, on par with last year's all-senior top four which was touted as one of the fastest MIT fours ever. Northeastern, Harvard, and Dartmouth finished first, fourth, and sixth respectively at the 1996 Eastern Sprints, equivalently the Division I national championships for rowing.
The heavyweight B four of Brian Smith '97, Charlie Able '97, Karsten Kallevig '99, Karl Richter '99, and Eric Sit '99 (coxswain), finished just three places behind the first four. The B four caught up to the Harvard lightweight A four, making up the 20 second starting difference between the boats. The MIT boat had been plagued by illness in the week preceding the race and could have been even faster had it been healthier.
The C four of Solar Olugebefola '99, Mads Schmidt '98, Brad Lichtenstein G, and Chris Putnam G, finished much better than last year's boat. This relative improvement and the close finishes of the first two fours show an improved depth in MIT's heavyweight program and the potential for a fast varsity eight in the spring.
The freshman heavyweight eight, missing two rowers to illness, finished 13th out of over 30 boats.
"We hope to gain some speed this winter by training hard and recruiting more novice rowers - we have a lot of power and we just need more time on the water to smooth it out," said stroke Dan Wolf '00.