CAMDEN, N.J. – On a blustery, white-capped Cooper River today the Yale heavyweight crew team's top two eights secured spots in Friday's semifinals at the 109th IRA National Championships. The Bulldog varsity eight put up a good fight in its heat but missed one of the two qualifying spots by less than a second, later earning a semifinal bid with a second-place finish in the repechage. Yale's junior varsity received a bye and will race in tomorrow's semifinal, having hit a submerged log near the thousand-meter mark of its heat while sitting solidly in second position. The Yale freshman eight and varsity four fought hard in their heats and reps but will go on to race in the third level finals on Saturday.
Strong crosswinds and a false start delayed the third heat of the varsity eight event, an all-Ivy flight of Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale. Once underway the race was a veritable HYP trial as Harvard got its bow ball out front of Princeton and Yale made several strong moves to challenge the Tigers for the second qualifying spot. The Bulldogs had a quick sprint but would finish third (5:35.579), less than a second behind Princeton (5:34.743) and about two seconds behind Eastern-champs Harvard (5:33.357).
In one of the afternoon's repechages the Yale varsity had an even better second thousand to finish in second place ahead of Syracuse and advance to tomorrow's semifinal. Yale will be racing at 12:30 p.m. in the second semifinal against Wisconsin, Harvard, Washington, Stanford and Georgetown. Three will advance to Saturday's grand final, three to the petite final.
The Yale junior varsity crew had a great start in its heat. Like the varsity eight, the JV was lined up next to Harvard, and going into the 500-meter mark the Bulldogs had a two-seat lead on the field. Unfortunately around the halfway point of the race the Yale crew hit a submerged log and lost its skeg. Given that the Bulldogs were sitting comfortably in second place when it happened, they were able to petition regatta officials and receive a spot in the semifinal. The Yale JV will race in the second semi tomorrow at 12:00 p.m., a seven-boat race with Penn, Brown, Harvard, Wisconsin, Dartmouth and Princeton also looking for spots in the grand final.
The freshman eight will race in Saturday's third-level final at 9:21 a.m. The freshmen finished sixth in their morning heat and were sent to the repechage, having also caught debris on the boat's fin. In the rep the freshmen finished fourth and narrowly missed the cut for the semifinals.
Yale's varsity four will also race in Saturday's third-level final at 7:45 a.m. This crew finished fourth in their morning heat and was sent to the repechage where it finished fifth and failed to qualify for the semifinals.
Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity