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Heavyweight Crew to Take On Columbia in Alumni Cup

By Brian Richter

TEAM MEMBER

A Riverside Boat Club crew squeaked past MIT’s first varsity heavyweight crew this past Sunday in Tech’s final pre-season scrimmage.

The race featured three Riverside eights and two from MIT. It capped a week of double sessions here in Cambridge over Spring Break.

The MIT varsity team, Jonathan L. Berkow ’03 (cox), Thomas A. Becker ’03 (stroke), Nicholas K. Abercrombie ’03, Joshua G. Kubit ’03, Martin M. Tolliver ’03, Andrew D. Copeland ’01, Jason M. Bell ’02, Igor L. Belakovskiy ’01, and Brian K. Richter ’02 jumped quickly off the start to garner a one seat lead. At around 600 meters into the race, the Engineers extended their lead on Riverside to half-a-boat’s length .

The Engineers held this lead comfortably for the next 700 meters. At that point, however, Riverside challenged and pulled even with the MIT eight for the last 500 meters. The Engineers pulled together a reasonable sprint, but were outdone in the final strokes by their opposition’s strong finishing sprint. Riverside crossed the finish line in 6:09. MIT finished in 6:11.

The loss has motivated MIT to dig deeper, work harder, and flush out technical flaws in their final week of preparation before collegiate competition. “I think it is better that we lost this race,” said Becker. “If we had won, then we wouldn’t have thought so seriously about the things we need to improve to beat Columbia in our upcoming season opener.”

This Saturday, MIT lines up against Columbia University at 8:40 at home on the Charles for the annual Alumni Cup race. The race should prove to be very competitive.

Columbia’s crew was ranked higher in the preseason polls and has trounced its early season competition, Rutgers and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. However, the three returnees from last year’s MIT varsity are hungry for revenge from last year’s loss on the Harlem. The varsity sophomores hope to power past the light blue as they did last year. Last year, MIT crushed the Columbia freshmen by over five boat-lengths.

The Alumni Cup, which goes to the winner of the varsity race, has been shared nearly equally by both MIT and Columbia throughout its history. MIT Coach Gordon Hamilton is an alumnus of the Columbia Rowing Program.