Stanford Men And Lightweights Prepare For IRA Championships Starting Thursday

June 3, 2009

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    STANFORD, Calif. - Following the Stanford women claiming both the team and I Eight national championships last weekend, the Stanford men and lightweights will look to make some history of their own this weekend as they take to the waters of Lake Natoma for the 107th edition of the IRA Championships, set for June 4-6.

    At the IRA Regatta, which represents the national championships for collegiate men's crew and lightweight men's and women's crew, schools compete for the Ten Eyck Trophy, awarded to the overall points winner, while the men's I Eight winner is considered the men's overall collegiate champion.

    Stanford will send its I Eight, II Eight, and Frosh Eight boats to compete on the men's side, while on the women's side the Lightweight Eight will be in action.

    Last year, the Stanford men's I Eight claimed a fifth-place national finish while the Frosh Eight rowed to victory in the petite final. The I Eight's appearance in the Grand Final was only the second time in the event's 106-year history that the boat had reached the national Grand Final.

    This year, the I Eight, ranked second in the nation according to the IRA Coaches Poll, has continued to make a name for itself on the national stage, claiming the silver medal at the Pac-10 Championships three weekends ago. In that Grand Final, the Cardinal used a late rally to surge ahead of Washington and nearly succeeded in running down California, coming just three-tenths of a second short of the gold.

    Prior to the Pac-10s, Stanford's I Eight recorded victories over Oregon State and Washington at the Stanford Invitational, and was edged by just 0.32 of a second by Wisconsin, which is ranked fourth heading into the IRA Championships.

    The Cardinal I Eight will open up action Thursday morning in the fourth heat, set to start at approximately 8:45 a.m. Stanford will battle against Penn, Columbia, Boston University and MIT in the heat, as the top two finishers of the heat advance to Friday's semifinals and the rest must go through Thursday afternoon's repechage for a last shot at making the semis.

    Also in the poll, Stanford's II Eight and Frosh Eight head into the IRAs ranked seventh and eighth, respectively. The II Eight will get off in the second semifinal of its class, set for a 9:12 a.m. start, racing against Gonzaga, Washington, Harvard and George Washington. Only the top finisher of each of the three heats will qualify for the semifinals Thursday, as the rest of the boats will get a last chance in Friday's repechage.

    The Frosh Eight will also be in its class' second heat, set for a 9:48 a.m. start. The Cardinal will fight for the top finish, and the automatic semifinal berth, against Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, MIT and George Washington. Boats not claiming victory in the heats will move on to Friday's repechage.

    The Stanford lightweights head into the championships with a nice head of steam as well, having captured the Pacific Coast Championship for the third consecutive year three weekends ago. The lightweight eight also recorded victories over California's third openweight boat at The Big Row and against top-10 boats Harvard and MIT a month ago on the East Coast. The boat will open action Friday morning at 8 a.m. for the lightweight heats.

    At last year's IRA Championships, the lightweights claimed their highest-ever finish, taking third in the Grand Final.

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