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Dartmouth, Wisconsin Defeat Heavyweights

By Karl Richter
Team Member

The varsity heavyweights rowed a respectable race last Saturday against the University of Wisconsin and Dartmouth College but were outmatched by both crews. Both the varsity and junior varsity boats traveled to Madison, Wis., for the 36th rowing of the Cochrane Cup.

In a surprise upset, Dartmouth knocked off Wisconsin, ranked fifth in Division I, in a time of 5 minutes 34.7 seconds, while Wisconsin finished in 5:36.8. MIT finished 10 seconds behind Wisconsin in a time of 5:47.8.

A storm blew into Madison the evening before the race and brought with it strong winds and rains which prompted the officials to move the race from the normal 2,000-meter race course on Lake Mendota to a shorter 1,852-meter course on the smaller Lake Wingra. A strong head wind still prevailed, but the wind and waves were less severe on the smaller lake.

In the varsity race, the lead changed three times. MIT led the three crews off the start and in the early part of the race. Wisconsin moved ahead first, building up a five-seat lead by the 500-meter mark, before Dartmouth pulled even at the 1,000-meter mark to leave MIT about a length back.

Dartmouth steadily inched ahead of Wisconsin for the rest of the race. MIT surged once on Wisconsin and moved to a position five seats down on Wisconsin. However, the young MIT crew was not able to pass or pull even with the more powerful Wisconsin boat.

Dartmouth went on to finish a half-length ahead of Wisconsin, with MIT less than three-quarters of a length of open water behind. The varsity boating, from bow to stern, was Charley Able '97, Brian Smith '97, Mads Schmidt '98, Karsten Kallevig '99, Mike Perry '99, Dan Parker '99, Karl Richter '99, Robert Lentz '98 (stroke), and Jen Lykens '99 (coxswain).

Although disappointed with the outcome, the varsity Engineers were pleased and encouraged by certain parts of the race.

"It's good to know that we can now move on anyone in our league when we really want to," Able said. The league, in this case, is the 15-college Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges, or the Eastern Sprints Conference of crews, the Division I of collegiate rowing.

Team captain Lentz said that "Dartmouth and Wisconsin are two of the very fastest handful of crews in the county this year. It's great that we can race with the very highest standard in the country."

In the junior varsity race, MIT also finished behind Wisconsin and Dartmouth. The junior varsity boating, from bow to stern, was Perkin Shiu '99, Duane Dreger '99, Shawn Meredith G, Jeb Keiper '99, Paul Marquart G, Solar Olugebefola '99, Shane Wu '99, and Jared Cotrell '97 (stroke).

"We had a good starting sequence, and with the first 500 down were only two seats from Dartmouth, but then when we came out of the wind cover, the boat slowed and never recovered," Keiper said.

"We had a strong race if not a rhythmic one," Olugebefola said. "We are this close to getting our swing together. When that happens, we should improve dramatically."

Both boats will be looking to make those improvements in two rounds of racing this weekend at the Eastern Sprints Championships on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester.

On Sunday morning, the varsity heavyweights will race Brown University, Yale University, Dartmouth, and the U.S. Naval Academy in their qualifying heat. The junior varsity will face the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Rutgers University, and Cornell University in their qualifying heat.

Both crews will race again later in the afternoon in finals races, the makeup of which will be determined by place finishes from the qualifying heats.