May 21, 2008

Strong Effort for MIT at the EARC Sprints

May 18, 2008

WORCESTER, Mass. - MIT lightweight men's crew sent three boats to the EARC Rowing Championships on Lake Quinsigamond Sunday afternoon. For the first time in over 10 years, both the varsity and freshmen eights finished in the top 10 in their races.

"It is great to part of a program that is moving in such a positive direction," said head coach Ted Benford. "Our student athletes have made a determined effort to compete at the EARC level. We are looking forward to continuing the progress made this year."

The Engineers' varsity finished fourth in the Petite Final to take 10th overall. Georgetown won the race with a time of 6:31.86, while Harvard followed in 6:37.06 and Penn was third in 6:44.91. The Hoyas had a quick start and took charge of the race early. MIT, Harvard and Pennsylvania battled for the next 400 meters with Harvard establishing itself solidly in 2nd place. Penn and MIT then traded seats for last 600 meters with Penn holding off a late charge by the Engineers to take third.

The first freshman also finished fourth in the Petite Final, and 10th overall, with a time of 6:26.02. The crew overcame an early deficit to pass Dartmouth before the half-way mark. The final 800 meters was contested between Columbia, Pennsylvania and MIT, which was making a charge in the final 500 meters. Tech continued to move into the contest for second place, but ran out of race course as they finished just over a length down.

Freshman coach Andy Hilton summarized the race for the young Engineers. "The guys felt they culminated their season with their best race of the spring. That translated into defeating a crew by nine seconds who had bested them in the dual season by 2.1 seconds. I look forward to seeing them carry that momentum into next year at the varsity level."

The second freshman 8+ raced to a sixth place finish in their first championship racing experience. The MIT lights now prepare for the IRA National Championships in Camden, N.J., on Saturday, June 7.