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Yale Varsity Rallies at Sprints, Qualifies for IRA National Championship

Yale's first varsity eight. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Yale's first varsity eight. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
WORCESTER, Mass. — Coming into the Sprints, the 3rd-ranked Yale varsity was anticipating another EARC lightweight wire-to-wire dogfight in both heat and final, and once again the league didn't disappoint. But for the Bulldogs, and their stroke-seat Captain Will Harrington '18, it turned into a fight of another sort. 
The varsity eight faced #2 Princeton, #6 Navy, and #7 Penn in the heat, with three to qualify. Off the start, Yale strode to base and claimed a small purchase on Princeton and Navy's crews, but fell behind a fast-starting Pennsylvania. All four crews exchanged blows through the 1k, but it was Princeton who edged out on the field slightly. With 750 to go, Yale discovered the cruel reality that is rowing: there is no injury time-out, and there are no substitutions. With an injured oarsman, the Yale varsity did its best to keep pace - but were unable to operate at 100% coming into the last 500. Unable to hold off the crews from Penn and Navy, a fourth place finish meant the 1V would be racing in the petite final in the afternoon. 
With the approval of the league commissioner, Yale were able to pull up a replacement oarsman from the 4V. Changing everyone on port side from stroke to 2-seat, Yale took to the petite final needing a top-two finish to punch their ticket to the IRA National Championship Regatta. Facing a firm headwind, Yale jumped out on Dartmouth and held a half length lead through the middle 1k of the race. Taking the rate up, Yale pushed out to a 4-second lead by the time they crossed the line, finishing first in a time of 6:13.556. An injury meant the Elis had to rally on the shortest of notice to rally and save the day for Eli. It won't be a high seed, but it's a place at the table.
Yale's second varsity eight was the last of the lightweight eights to race their heat in the morning. After a rocky regular season, the JV entered the weekend ranked seventh. In the heat, Princeton jumped out at the start. Not too far behind, Yale, Pennsylvania and Navy traded moves through the middle 1k. Coming into the last 500, Yale pushed out from the middle pack, taking half a length on Navy and closing in fast on the lead Princeton crew. Having run out of race course, Yale finished second.  In the afternoon grand final, Columbia had the quickest start. The Yale JV was unable to put down the same base pace as the leading Columbia and Cornell crews, but managed to fend off Harvard - reversing the duo's result from HYP's only two weeks ago.  The JV crossed the line in fifth in a time of 6:03.758.
The morning started with the heat for Yale's third varsity eight. Yale stayed with the pack off the start, and slipped back to a small deficit through the middle of the race. Yale's sprint was unable to put them back into the top three spots, and finishing fourth, the 3v qualified for the petite final. In the afternoon petite final, Yale put down a strong start and immediately took seats on the other crews. Over the course of the race, Yale continued to extend its lead. A late charge by Georgetown spurred Yale into an early, effective sprint, enough for open water and a first place finish in a time of 6:12.264.
The last Y150 race of the morning was for Yale's entry in the varsity coxed four. Competing against both lightweight and heavyweight entries, the four struggled to find its footing in the first half of the race. A firm recommitment by the oarsmen at the halfway helped propel them  to a fourth place finish (in 7:13.694), behind Northeastern, Boston University, and Syracuse's open weight entries, finishing ahead of the Pennsylvania lightweights and Holy Cross heavyweights. 
Yale's fourth varsity eight final was the first Y150 race of the afternoon. A straight final, Yale lined up against six other entries for their one go down the course. Princeton, Navy and Yale all had fast starts, but Yale was unable to overcome the one-length deficit between themselves and the leading two crews. While a frenzied sprint helped the 4v move up on Navy, the crew was unable to break out of their third place standing. Matching their seed, Yale finished third in a time of 6:11.022 - this is the first time a Y150 fourth varsity eight has claimed a medal at the Sprints. 
The regular season now behind them, most of the team will head off to their various summer commitments. Sixteen rowers will stay and train in the eight, a coxed four, and a straight four for the IRA National Championship Regatta taking place in Princeton, N.J. from June 1st - June 3rd
Full results here 
Report Filed by Yale Sports Publicity