Women row to fifth

by Ally Hyun | 5/11/94 5:00am

At Eastern Sprints on Sunday in New Preston, Conn., the Dartmouth women's crew team rowed its best performances of the season. Both the varsity and second varsity eights finished fifth in their respective grand finals.

The races marked the first time both of Dartmouth's varsity boats qualified for the grand final in 10 years and the fifth-place finishes were the best since then.

The Big Green varsity qualified for the afternoon grand final with a second place finish in the morning heats. Princeton University, the eventual Eastern Sprints gold medalists, finished ahead of Dartmouth in the morning qualifier.

In the finals, all six boats fought in a tight pack for the first half of the 2,000-meter race. In the final 1,000 meters, Princeton, in typical fashion, rowed to a slight advantage. That advantage garnered a first heat win and a place in the grand final.

The Tigers comfortably held on to first place while Brown moved out to second. Yale, Radcliffe, the Big Green and BU engaged in a tough battle for the bronze medal.

With 500 meters left, Yale, Radcliffe and Dartmouth were still in a close race for third place, but Yale pulled ahead in the final 30 strokes to earn the bronze.

Radcliffe finished less than a second ahead of the Big Green, leaving Dartmouth in fifth place, the final spot to qualify for the grand final.

"It was a super weekend and the whole program has taken a serious step forward," Coach Barb Kirch said. "Last year, virtually all the boats were seventh or better ... The varsity was a very close eighth. This year, three boats made the final and were fifth or better."

An injury in Dartmouth's second varsity eight during the heats forced Kirch to make a line-up change before the finals. With a rower from the third varsity four, the second varsity matched the fifth place result of the varsity in the finals, finishing behind Princeton, Brown, Cornell and Radcliffe, respectively.

The Big Green third varsity four narrowly missed qualifying for the grand final during the morning heats. The boat was unable to race in the petit final, but had expected to finish seventh overall.

In the first novice eight final, Princeton finished first with Yale and Radcliffe the silver and bronze medalists, respectively.

Dartmouth crossed the finish line two seconds behind Radcliffe.

The novice eight were handicapped considerably during the race. One of the eight oars popped out of its oarlock, costing the boat valuable time and the race.

And in the second novice eight race, the Big Green failed to qualify for the grand final. Racing in the petit final, Dartmouth finished behind the Yale Bulldogs, earning an eighth place finish overall.

"All in all, this was a great season for Dartmouth women's crew," captain Julie Stevenson '94 said. "We took two huge steps forward this year and made [sure] Dartmouth will be considered a force to be reckoned with in the future."

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