April 22, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - On Saturday, the MIT freshmen (10-1) continued their strong spring campaign with a victory over Boston College and Cincinnati in the team's first home regatta of the slate. The first freshman boat crossed the line nearly fifteen seconds ahead of the competition en route to an easy win on the River Chuck. The varsity eight finished second in its heat as the University of Cincinnati enjoyed an impressive victory over its Boston foes.
Going into this windy home opener, the first freshmen were 8-1 against its opponents, with the only loss coming at the hands of a strong Trinity boat. The first freshmen crews had a little trouble locking on to the starting boats and getting aligned in the wind, but after some adjustments, the race went off cleanly. MIT took the early lead, gaining a full length in the first 20 strokes, and breaking out to half a length of open at the 500m mark. After the blazing 1:25 start, they settled into a low and relaxed 34 beats per minute.
The lower, relaxed rating allowed them to extend the lead to ten seconds at the 1000m with a time of 3:01. Cincinnati was an early leader on Boston College, but with 500m to go, the Eagles started to move back into the Bearcats. At the line, Cincinnati was able to fend off the final B.C. charge, and secure second place by a few feet.
MIT coxswain Steve Young commented, "We executed the race plan and got our work done in the first 1000m; after we had control we raced pretty conservatively."
The Freshmen Coach, Dan Perkins added, "It wasn't the prettiest race they've rowed, but they appeared to handle the conditions well. I'm still waiting to see another race like the Columbia/Army race, where they're moving through in the second 1000m."
The second freshmen, consisting of all but one lightweight, continued to build boat speed this spring by winning their first shirts of the year. MIT got off to a clean start against Boston College, and was able to take nearly a length in the first fifteen strokes. The Eagles were able to slow MIT's momentum once they settled into the body of the race, but MIT responded with a push to break open water going into the 500 down. MIT's push paid off and the crew extended its lead to over a length in the second 500.
By the 1000m mark, the water began to be less manageable for both crews, which limited their ability to mount any significant moves. MIT crossed the line in 6:47 well ahead of BC.
The race Saturday further reflects the improvement the second freshmen eight has made over the season. The experience gained from the first two races of the season, in which they lost by less than a length, allowed the boat to implement a solid race plan and beat both Holy Cross and URI while falling to a experienced Trinity second freshmen eight on April 9.
Freshmen coach Matt Berean said, "The conditions were less than ideal but they did what they had to do. Their racing experiences thus far allowed them to decide when to put their bow in front and keep it there. Now we have to look toward next week, and a solid Dartmouth boat".
MIT's second varsity eight easily held off B.C. and Cincinnati to secure another win for the Cardinal and Gray, while the Engineers also paced the field with a victory in the varsity four.
The MIT freshmen will travel north to Hanover, N.H., to race Dartmouth on Saturday April 29, while the varsity crew will venture to Madison, Wis., for the annual Cochrane Cup versus Dartmouth and Wisconsin.