Tech Heavyweights Finish Season with Strong Performance at Henley Royal Regatta

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The MIT's men's heavyweight crew concluded its outstanding 2009 season with a strong showing at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in Henley-on-Thames, England. Competing in the Ladies' Challenge Plate event for eight-man shells, Tech defeated a powerful crew from London's Molesey Boat Club, before falling to eventual champion Brown University in the second round.

The Engineers flew to London 10 days prior to the start of the regatta and held several training sessions at a secluded boathouse owned by the Royal Air Force in Dansefield. One week before the Henley final, Tech entered and won the Elite 8 event at the Reading Town Regatta. MIT's spare pair of freshmen John Busche and Chris Jones won the intermediate pair event.

The team then moved to the Royal Regatta site for its final days of preparation. As the varsity eight trained, the Jones and Busche pair participated again in the spare pair race. This event occurs several days before the regatta officially opens and gives the spare oarsmen from each team a chance to compete. Jones and Busche crushed all comers, easily defeating duos from strong American teams, such as Princeton and Bates, to win the small but classy silver goblet.

In the first round of Ladies' Plate racing, MIT drew Molesey Boat Club, a London club that had stacked its boat with two Olympic medalists and several Oxford/Cambridge boat race veterans. There were a few gray hairs in the Molesey boat, but also decades of international racing experience. Tech started fast and gained most of a boat-length on Moseley in the first quarter of the race. Molesey pushed back strongly, but could not catch the Engineers, who won by a third of a length.

In the second round Tech drew Brown, which had captured the Eastern Sprints crown and placed fourth at the IRA National Championship, notching the highest ranking among east coast crews. Brown drew away about 400 meters into the race, and never looked back, winning by two-and-a-half lengths. The Bears went on to defeat all other challengers to win the Ladies' Plate on the final day of the regatta.

Despite its ultimate defeat, Tech's rowers performed well and gained valuable experience in their first international regatta. The Henley team was comprised of:

Cox - Steve Young
Stroke - Luke Urban
7 - Rane Nolan
6 - Tom Larsen
5 - James Stenard
4 - Kevin Kelley
3 - Steve Wesel
2 - David Jenicek
1 - Lucas Goodman
Spare pair - John Busche and Chris Jones