Heavyweight crew disappoints

by Kevin Demoff | 5/20/98 5:00am

When trying to assess the Big Green men's crew performance at Eastern Sprints this past weekend, one needs to look no further than the sentiments of men's crew coach Scott Armstrong:

"Why settle for a consolation prize when you have a chance to be the best?"

The heavyweight team disappointed with their 11th place finish out of 15 teams. The boat went into its morning heat trying to earn one of six spots in the grand final, a tough task for the ninth-seeded Big Green. Their fifth place finish in the petite final was a result of a combination of many factors, according to Armstrong.

"They rowed their brains out to try and get into the grand finals," Armstrong said. "When it came to the petite final, they had nothing left and got a bad lane with some tough headwind. That isn't to say they didn't row poorly on the afternoon, but nobody really cares where you finish in a petite final if you spent all of your energy trying to earn a spot in the grand final."

The University of Pennsylvania pulled the biggest upset of the day, rowing past heavily-favored Princeton to win the heavyweight grand final by just six-tenths of a second. Ironically, it was the fourth-seeded Quakers that the Big Green were hoping to upset in the initial heat to advance to the grand final.

The win would not be enough though, as Princeton took home both the Rowe and Jope Cups for heavyweight and lightweight points respectively, crowning them the big winners of Eastern Sprints, although Penn brought home the coveted title of heavyweight-eights winner.

Dartmouth's lightweight teams had a better day than the heavyweights, advancing into each final at Lake Quinsigamond near Worcester, Mass.

Although Dartmouth was unable to capture any titles in one of the biggest meets in the spring, the lightweight teams rowed themselves into the grand finals for the sixth straight year in every category. The varsity lightweight team finished fifth in its final, finishing just under 20 seconds behind Princeton's winning boat. Both the freshman and second varsity lightweight squads also finished fifth, once again behind the Tigers in both endeavors.

The best finish on the afternoon came from a boat competing in its first ever Eastern Sprint. The second freshman eight lightweight boat captured third place, just behind Ivy league rivals Harvard and Cornell. Both freshman heavyweights rallied to earn a spot in the grand final, earning sixth place in both races.

"The freshmen boats were the bright spot for us at Sprints," Armstrong said. "All year they lost to better teams, but they never let themselves get down, and they showed some real promise for the future with their performance."

The Dartmouth boats will try to rally after this weekend's performance when they head to the IRA regatta next week.

"We are out to prove that we are a better team than we showed over the weekend," Armstrong said.