Stanford Men's I Eight, Lightweight Eight Head To Grand Finals At IRA Championships
June 5, 2009
LAKE NATOMA, Calif. - Day two of the 2009 IRA Championships at Lake Natoma saw the No. 2 Stanford men's I Eight and the Lightweight Eight keep their national-title hopes alive by advancing to Saturday's Grand Final during Friday's competition. In other competition, the men's II Eight and Frosh Eight boats took second and third place, respectively, in their repechage races and will now participate in Saturday's petite finals.
The second-ranked I Eight, rowing in Semifinal B, led through the first half of the race by a margin of just over two seconds. But in the third 500, Washington, rowing in second, began to steadily make up the deficit, and managed to pass up the Cardinal. Following the final 500-meter sprint, the Cardinal, despite crossing the line just under two seconds back of the Huskies with a time of 5:55.70, still accomplished the main goal of qualifying for Saturday's Grand Final and earning its chance to row for a national title.
The I Eight Grand Final is set to close out competition at the IRA Championships Saturday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. The Cardinal will battle for the national title against crews from California, Harvard, Boston University, Washington and Brown.
The Stanford lightweights finally got their chance to see the first competition of the weekend, and pulled out to the lead right from the start in the class' second heat. With the top two finishers of each heat advancing to the Grand Final, the Cardinal left no doubt where it would be on Saturday, going wire-to-wire in Friday's heat to hold off Princeton, Bucknell and MIT and claim victory with a time of 7:01.10.
The lightweights will compete for the national title Saturday in the Grand Final, which is set to get underway at 11 a.m. at Lake Natoma.
Stanford's men's II Eight and Frosh Eight entered Friday needing to finish first in their respective repechage races to advance to the Grand Finals on Saturday. The Frosh Eight was up first, and opened the race trailing California by just over a second after the first 500 meters. Yet the Golden Bears were able to extend the lead, while the Northeastern boat caught the Cardinal for second position. Although it fell to third, the Cardinal crew was able to hold its position and claimed a spot in the petite final after crossing the line in a time of 6:14.97.
The II Eight faced off in a three-boat race against Wisconsin and Columbia for the one available slot in the Grand Final, which would go to the repechage's winner. The Cardinal and Badgers broke away early, and it became a two-boat race after the opening 500 meters, with Stanford trailing by exactly a second. Despite its best efforts, though, the Cardinal lost precious time to the Badger crew, which held off Stanford's challenge as the Cardinal's finishing time of 6:03.96 was 3.82 seconds back of Wisconsin.
The Cardinal Frosh Eight and II Eight's petite finals will now take place at 9:45 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., respectively, Saturday morning.