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Lightweights Defeat Rutgers for Important Victory

Jiri Schindler - The Tech
The first vasrsity lightweight boat leaves Rutgers University behind in their victory Saturday on the Charles River. MIT won the race in 6:21.5, while Rutgers finished in 6:26.9.

By Erik S. Balsley
team member

The varsity lightweight crew team had a solid victory over Rutgers University Saturday on the Charles River to end their regular racing season with a 45 record.

The record is one of the best in the past few years for the squad and improves on last year's 36 record. Although the team only had six races, some of these were three-way races.

Off the start, the varsity boat from bow to stern, of Kris Kendall '98, Dan Frisk '99, Erik Balsley G, Paul Oppold '99, Jean-Paul Folch '97, Chris Liu '98, Torrey Radcliffe '98, Garrett Shook '97 (stroke), and Joe Irineo '98 (coxswain), had a two-seat lead over Rutgers.

After Rutgers finished their longer start sequence and settled into their race cadence, MIT slowly began moving up on Rutgers to increase their lead into a noticeable headwind which slowed the times for both boats. In the second 500 meters of the course, Irineo called for a series of 20 power strokes which increased the MIT lead to about eight seats.

By the time the varsity reached the Harvard Bridge, slightly past halfway through the course, they had etched out a boat length's lead over Rutgers. A power 20 through the bridge further increased MIT's lead to a few seats of open water.

In the final 700 meters, Rutgers began to make a drive. However, the lightweights kept their focus and determination to prevent Rutgers from taking away their lead. Irineo called the boat's final sprint early, which cemented MIT's lead. In the end, MIT finished in 6 minutes 21.5 seconds, a boat length and some open water ahead of Rutgers who finished in 6:26.9.

"This was a truly great race for us," said lightweight coach Stu Schmill '86. "Rutgers was ranked seventh and for us to row with such confidence against an obviously strong crew, shows that we can row with confidence against anyone."

Rutgers had defeated Dartmouth College by open water last weekend, a team to whom MIT lost earlier in the season. In addition, they finished closer behind Yale than MIT did last weekend. This indicates the team has gotten faster during the season.

"We still have some improvements to make, but the level that these nine athletes are rowing at right now is very high," Schmill said. "Our championships are in two weeks, and I think our best race is still ahead of us."

The other boats, the second varsity, first freshman, and second freshman, all fell to Rutgers. However, after the second varsity raced, they split up into two fours and raced Rutgers' third varsity four.

The stern four, from bow to stern, of Jorge Broggio '97, Jeff Munro '99, Sean Hwang '99, Joel Johnson '98, and Andy Woo '97 (coxswain), defeated Rutgers in a time of 7:59.8.

Rutgers' third varsity finished in second in a time of 8:04.3, while MIT's second varsity bow four, from bow to stern, of Steve Huang '99, Sameer Shah '97, Felix Lam '97, Haiwei Guo '97, and Bill Chernicoff '97 (coxswain), finished in 8:31.5 for third.

The team will next be racing at the Eastern Sprints on Lake Quinisigmond in Worcester on Sunday, May 11.