WEST WINDSOR, N.J. - The Yale lightweight coxed four won the grand final of the IRA National Championship this afternoon. The Bulldogs lead both their heat and final from start to finish, fighting off challenges from rivals Harvard, Columbia and Cornell. This marks the first time the lightweights have won the fours event at the IRA.
The Bulldogs began the day with a heat at 8:00 a.m. Yale shot out to a commanding lead off the start and looked comfortable throughout. The lead was unchallenged, despite efforts from Columbia and Cornell in the final 500 meters. Yale entered the final as the fastest qualifiers from both heats, in a time of 6:35.03.
The grand final of the lightweight coxed fours got underway at 1:48 p.m. Again, the Y150 four leapt out to about a length lead off the start. Around the 1000m mark, the Bulldogs were just about breaking open water on second-place Columbia. Harvard, who had earlier come through late in its heat to take the win, once again began to make moves. However, Yale maintained its composure and drove away the challenge, eventually lengthening out the lead to just short of a length over Columbia, and Harvard.
Thomas Foster, stroke seat of the four, spoke of his crew's execution of the race: "We had a solid heat in which we got out on the field and maintained our position. We knew Harvard was going to bring a challenge around the 1000m in the final and we were ready for that. We had no expectations for this crew as we were a new lineup; we just came together really well and rowed the speed we knew we could."
In the lightweight coxless four event, there was further good news for the Y150. This was a straight final, contested between seven crews. Yale kept itself in contention off the start and was sitting in a very close fourth, behind first place Princeton -- who jumped out -- and almost level with crews from Harvard and Cornell. As the Bulldogs settled into their rhythm they began to move through both Cornell and Harvard, positioning themselves in second. A late charge by Cornell put the Bulldogs in third, but challenges from Harvard and Columbia were futile. The Bulldogs crossed the line in third place, winning the Bronze medal.
Yale's lightweight varsity eight gets underway tomorrow. The heat, which has changed from the previous scheduled time, is now at 7:10 a.m. and the final is at 11:20 a.m. due to forecasted storms.
Lightweight Varsity Coxed Four
Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity