Stanford Frosh Eight, Varsity Four Earn Spots In IRA Grand Finals
June 4, 2010
CAMDEN, N.J. - The Stanford men's Frosh Eight and Varsity Four each clinched a spot in its respective Grand Final for Sunday in dramatic fashion during Saturday's semifinals at the IRA National Championships Regatta in Camden, N.J.
The Frosh Eight reached the Grand Final for the first time since 2004, when it finished fifth.
Stanford's Frosh Eight found itself locked in an incredible battle with Cal, Harvard and Boston University in its semifinal race. The young Cardinal jumped aggressively off the line taking an early lead. Strong presses by BU and Cal put those two crews in the lead at the halfway point with Harvard in third and Stanford about five seats back in fourth. Stanford started a strong second-half push and soon drew even with BU and Harvard. Those three crews would race within a mere seat of each other for the next 1,000 meters, but in the end Stanford got the better of BU and advanced to the Grand Final.
The Cardinal, racing its third race in two days, crossed the line third with a time of 5:50.661, just 0.277 of second behind second-place Harvard and 0.244 of a second clear of Boston University.
'Today's racing was every bit as intense as we thought it would be and our guys showed tremendous heart and determination to advance from this fast field,' said Stanford freshman coach Pete Giese. 'It was some truly special racing today. Seeing four boats racing as hard and fast as the leaders were was really something and having second, third and fourth decided by a half-second is exciting.'
'Our guys have battled all weekend,' Giese continued. 'Today they put together a gutsy race and now have a chance to race for the medals and a place in Stanford history.'
In the Varsity Four semifinal, Stanford found itself locked in an intense battle. The Cardinal we on the lead pace with Wisconsin through the halfway mark, but saw spirited charges from both Georgetown and George Washington.
In what was probably the most exciting finish of the day, Stanford held onto to a second-place photo finish that left everyone on shore wondering how the race had ended. Wisconsin won the semifinal with a time of 6:28.966 and was pursued by three closing boats. Stanford came in second only .39 of a second back of Wisconsin at 6:29.356 with Georgetown securing the final spot in the Grand Final a mere .009 of a second behind Stanford. George Washington just missed out on the final finishing only .047 seconds behind Georgetown.
'It was a great day of racing for Stanford,' commented Stanford Director of Rowing and men's head coach Craig Amerkhanian. 'These performances bode well for our 2011 season as these young athletes will all be competing for seats in the varsity boat. You can't simulate the kind of intensity that they felt today and everyone to the man had to dig deep. We are very proud of their effort today and are looking forward to racing for the medals tomorrow.'
Saturday, the I Eight races in the petite final at 8:30 a.m. PT (11:30 a.m. ET). The Varsity Four races in the Grand Final at 6:12 a.m. PT (9:12 a.m. ET) and the Frosh Eight will try to win a medal in their 7:15 a.m. PT (10:15 a.m. ET) Grand Final.