Campus & Community

Crew Cops Compton, O’Leary Cups — Men and women rowers leave Princeton, Dartmouth in their wake

3 min read
Head Coach Harry Parker. Photo by Tim Morse.</p>

The Harvard men’s heavyweight crew, ranked fourth in the nation, solidified its standing with a victory over fifth-ranked Princeton and M.I.T. in the 65th rowing of the Compton Cup Saturday April, 22, on the Charles River. The Radcliffe women’s heavyweight crew was equally impressive, defeating Syracuse and Dartmouth for the O’Leary Cup while also edging nationally-ranked California.

Heavy rains and strong winds forced race officials to re-work the course. The crews rowed an 1,850-meter course located upstream and engaged in “head-style” racing, instead of the more common side-by-side contests. Boats were launched from the starting line at one-minute intervals.

The Harvard men were timed in 5:28.9, with Princeton following in 5:31.8. Northeastern, a late addition to the race, was clocked in 5:34.6, with M.I.T. crossing the finish line in 6:06.9. With the win, Harvard captures the Compton Cup for the 51st time in its 64-year history and takes the trophy back from a Princeton squad that had won it last year on Lake Carnegie. Harvard has won the last nine Compton races on the Charles.

“This result tells us what we have felt from the beginning of the season. We have a good crew and we’re getting faster,” said Harvard head coach Harry Parker, now 34-4 in Compton Cup races. “As a coach, that’s what you want to see.

“Moving the course [upstream] gave us improved conditions and I felt all the crews handled the format well and had good races,” added Parker.

Both the junior varsity and freshman races were declared “dead heats” with Princeton. In the junior varsity contest, Harvard and Princeton posted a time of 5:40.8, with Northeastern coming in third at 5:48.0. The Crimson frosh and the Tigers clocked in at 5:50.1, Northeastern at 6:01, and M.I.T finishing in 6:04.7. Harvard won the third varsity and second freshman contests.

Radcliffe earned its first regatta win of the spring and scored a surprising decision over the University of California – the nation’s third-ranked crew – in the process. The race also served as the unveiling of the O’Leary Cup, named in honor of Radcliffe head coach Liz O’Leary and presented to the winner of the Radcliffe-Dartmouth-Syracuse tri-regatta.

Radcliffe, which began the week as No. 7 in the country, was timed in at 6:19.3. California was next at 6:22.4, followed by Syracuse (6:30.7) and Dartmouth (6:37.5). It marks the second straight year Radcliffe has defeated Syracuse and Dartmouth and gives it an 8-5 lead in series history.

In the second varsity, the schools finished in the same order with Radcliffe (6:41.7) winning and California (6:45.3), Syracuse (6:50.8), and Dartmouth (6:53.6) trailing. The novice contest was a tie, as both Radcliffe and Dartmouth finished in 6:45.8.

Harvard’s heavyweight men return to action on Saturday, April 29, in Annapolis, facing Navy and Pennsylvania for the Adams Cup. The heavyweight women meet Yale on the Charles River for the Case Cup. The lightweight crews will also be racing. The defending national champion Harvard lights are at Princeton with Yale for the Goldthwait Cup; the Radcliffe lights also face Princeton on the road.