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Rowers Finish Well At CRASH-B Sprints


Erik S. Balsley--The Tech
Brian H. Smith '97 competes in the open men's event at the CRASH-B sprints Sunday, held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College.

By Erik S.Balsley
Team Member

On Sunday, members of most of the crew squads competed in the 15th annual CRASH-B Sprints World Indoor RowingChampionships. Although no rower affiliated with MIT medaled, each squad finished the day with many strong performances.

This year the championships were held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Indoor Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College for the first time. In past years, the CRASH-Bs have been held in Rockwell Cage or at Harvard University.

The sprints are divided into events which run in heats. Participants are randomly assigned to a heat in a given event. Each participant then rows an exhaustively grueling 2,000-meter piece on the Concept II Model C ergometer.

The sprints attract rowers from all over the world. The top 10 finishers in the lightweight and open men's and women's events then compete in the international final later in the day. Because of the large number of international competitors, a separate ranking of collegiate rowers is kept. The next 10 collegiate competitors, who do not finish in the overall top 10 in these events, then compete in the collegiate finals. For the finals, competitors must row another 2,000-meter piece.

The day began at 8 a.m. with the women's lightweight event. Amy Gieffers '97 finished in 11th place overall in a time of 7:31.7. She was followed by teammates Mariah Luff '99 in 43rd (8:08.2), Heidi Chang '98 in 51st (8:16.8), and Jeanne Yu '98 in 61st (8:45).

The next event was men's lightweight. Most of the members of the lightweight squads who competed rowed to personal best times. Overall, it was one of the strongest showings by the lightweights in the event's history. They were led by Dan Frisk '99, who finished in 26th place in a time of 6:33.6 and missed making the collegiate finals by two spots.

Frisk was closely followed by Kris Kendall '98 who finished in 30th place with a time of 6:35.2. Other finishers were Torrey Radcliffe '97 in 62nd (6:43.6), Jorge Broggio '97 in 84th (6:47.9), Garrett Shook '97 in 107th (6:52.3), and Sean Hwang '99 in 160th (7:04.6).

Seth Newburg '00 was the first freshman finisher in a time of 6:55.1 which earned him 116th place. Following him was Chad Brodel '00 in 149th (7:02.9), Harald Hoegh '00 in 161st (7:04.9), James O'Donnell '00 in 179th (7:12.4), Jeremy Hui '00 in 192nd (7:18.4), Ben Boehm '00 in 194th (7:19.3), and Kartik Mani '00 in 197th (7:23.7).

Some coxswains and rowers, who could make the weight requirement, competed in the next event, which was for coxswains. Stuart Jackson '00 was the top finisher for MIT in seventh with a time of 7:33.20. Following him were Haiwei Guo in ninth (7:36.0), and Joe Irineo '98, who rowed a smart piece, to finish in 17th (7:46.9).

The heavyweights then competed in the men's open event. "With 11 of 12 personal bests, it was the best performance as a squad we have ever had," said Gordon Hamilton, coach of the heavyweight varsity team. "This indicates that we have good racers, since it is quite difficult to perform under so much pressure."

Four oarsmen finished with times among the top nine fastest times ever at MIT. In addition, the Engineers placed seven rowers in the top 100 of a field of 240 collegiate oarsmen. Michael Perry '99 had the highest Engineer finish in 33rd collegiately with a time of 6:13.3. He was closely followed by Robert Lentz '98 in 36th (6:14.4), Karsten Kallevig '99 in 46th (6:16.5), and Brian Smith '97 in 50th (6:17.1).

The heavyweight team also saw good finishes in the collegiate field of 240 rowers from Dan Parker '99 in 82nd (6:25.7), Solar Olugebefola '99 in 91st (6:27.3), Karl Richter '99 in 97th (6:29.2), Mads Schmidt '98 in 120th (6:34.2), Shane Wu '99 in 138th (6:37.3), Charley Able '97 in 140th (6:37.4), and Jeb Keiper '99 in 167th (6:47.3).

The open men's division had a new world record set by Matthias Seijkowski from Germany with a mind-boggling time of 5:39.7. MIT alumnus Brad Layton '92 rowed a strong time of 6:05.8 and barely missed the international finals.

The final event of the day was the women's open event. The women were led in the overall standings by Jesse Kleiss '00 who rowed a strong 7:16.2 to finish in 39th. The next MIT finishers were Stephanie Chen '00 in 89th (7:30.9), Susan Dey '98 in 92nd (7:31.4), Katy Croff '00 in 143rd (7:47.2), and Sarah Folscroft '98 in 178th (8:05.9).

All crews are looking forward to returning to the river in the near future to begin training on the water for the spring season.

Robert Lentz '98 contributed to the reporting of this article