Stanford Lightweight Eight Claims First-Ever National Title
June 5, 2010
CAMDEN, N.J. - History was made Saturday at the IRA National Championships Regatta in Camden, N.J. as the No. 2 Stanford Lightweight Eight set a new course record en route to claiming its first-ever IRA national title with a nearly four-second victory over top-ranked Wisconsin in the Grand Final. The lightweight four, meanwhile, finished fifth in its Grand Final.
The eight's previous best at the IRAs was third place, achieved in each of the past three years.
In fast cross tailwind conditions the Cardinal established a two-seat lead after the first 250 meters. Stanford then continued to open up the margin as Wisconsin and Princeton battled for second place. In the latter half of the race the Cardinal lightweights held off repeated attacks from the Badgers and the Tigers.
With 300 meters to go the Cardinal pushed its advantage to a slight amount of open water. Stanford crossed the finish line in a time of 6:28.209, beating the previous course record set by Princeton 2002. The time would end up being nearly four seconds ahead of Wisconsin's 6:32.023.
'Wisconsin has set the standard for quite a while,' commented Stanford lightweight head coach Al Acosta. 'We've spent a long time chasing them, so it feels pretty good to finally get one. We're thankful for all of the support from our friends, family, the Stanford athletic department, and the Stanford community in general.'
Princeton would take the bronze medal with a time of 6:36.784, while Radcliffe, Bucknell and Georgetown rounded out the rest of the field.
The Cardinal Four, participating in its third race in a span of roughly 24 hours, battled back and forth with Harvard and Bucknell for 1,500 meters in their grand final. A final push by Bucknell and Harvard left Stanford in fifth place. Stanford would cross the line with a time of 7:44.833, edged out of fourth position by just 0.264 of a second behind Radcliffe.
'I'm tremendously proud of the girls racing at the IRAs,' commented lightweight assistant coach Katie Sweet. 'They worked together every race and came through with a performance that showed a lot of toughness.'
Loyola would capture the Lightweight Four national title in a time of 7:33.352, followed by Wisconsin and Bucknell.