June 1, 2014

Men’s Crew Finishes Second at IRA National Championship

IRA Central

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – With a thrilling comeback finish in the varsity eight grand final, the Brown men's crew captured second place at the IRA National Championship, as the Bears claimed four medals to cap off the three-day event on Sunday at Mercer Lake. 

Washington won the varsity eight for the fourth-straight year, in the event that officially declares the national champion, but the Bears turned back California down the stretch to finish runner-up. Brown joined the Huskies and Golden Bears as the only three schools to advance all five boats to the grand finals. Brown was also the only program from the East to reach all four grand finals.

"They made a really good press in the middle and had good control over the boat, and were really able to move it in a key time in the race," said head coach Paul Cooke on the varsity boat. "Washington already had a lead but they were able to chase down California. They raced a great race."

Brown registered four medals on the final day, including silver by the varsity eight and varsity four, and bronze by the third varsity and freshman eight crews. Brown totaled 178 points to finish third behind Washington and Cal in the Jim Ten Eyck Memorial Trophy, awarded to the school with the most team points.

"The work the team has done over the year has been really tough," said Cooke. "They've gone through some hard times, but to stick together and come through the way they did is inspiring, and I know that it made a huge different to the varsity how well all the other crews did, and that was a big part of the energy they had going into that last race."

In the varsity eight grand final, Washington and California were about level at 250 meters, while Harvard and Brown trailed two seats behind the two West Coast leaders. Brown then took over third place by a few seats shortly before the 750-meter mark. After Washington established a firm lead at the midway point, Brown and Princeton were level for third after comeback by the Tigers, but the Bears began to pick up the pace and moved past Princeton with sights set on Cal. In the waning 500 meters of the race, the Bears surged past the Golden Bears, and grabbed second place in a time of 5:39.62.

"At the 1,000 we took a pretty substantial move, dropped Harvard and Princeton at that time, then with 500 to go we drew level with California and began to press out," said senior Martin Aspholm, who stroked the varsity boat. "We always say that our team is our strongest component. We're fighting for medals, every single guy is contributing, and the success of anybody is the success for everyone."

Brown had all five boats in the grand finals, starting with the varsity four in the first event of the day. Washington and California nosed out in front, with Wisconsin in third two seats back, followed by Georgetown and Brown. The Huskies took a half-length lead over Cal at 750 meters, while Brown still sat in fifth, but the Bears made a strong push near the midway point to pass both Georgetown and Wisconsin for third place. Brown continued to press with 750 remaining in the race and made a furious challenge for the silver, passing the Golden Bears at 1,500 meters for a firm grip on runner-up, as the Bears took second at 6:24.62.

In the next race, the third varsity grand final, the Bears fell a deck back to early leaders Washington, Cal, Northeastern and Boston University. After Cal took the lead at the 500-meter mark, the Bears passed Northeastern to claim fourth, but were still two seats back from BU in third place. The Golden Bears were in control of first place after the midway mark, but the Bears climbed back from fourth to pass Washington in second with about 750 meters remaining. Nevertheless, the Huskies answered back, and took back second down the stretch, as Bruno captured the bronze in a time of 5:50.79.

Brown snagged the fourth medal with a third-place finish in the freshman eight grand final. California and Washington were locked up top at the opening 500 meters, while Cornell and Brown were level in a battle for third. After Washington took the lead by a half a length at the 1,000 meters, Bruno took sole command of third, trailing the Golden Bears by about eight seats. Harvard made a push on Brown in the closing 750 meters, but the Bears pushed back the attempt and rolled into a third-place finish to take the bronze medal at 5:54.08.

In the second varsity grand final, Cal, Washington and Northeastern jumped off to a good start, while the Bears trailed Princeton in fifth. The Tigers made a big push over the next 300 meters to take first place and remained in the lead at 750 meters. California made a push at the 1,000-meter mark and moved into the lead with about 500 meters left in the race, while Brown passed Northeastern down the stretch for a fourth-place finish at 5:48.47.

Sunday Results
4V Grand Final
1          WASHINGTON - 6:21.322
2          BROWN - 6:24.619
3          CALIFORNIA - 6:27.615
4          BU - 6:29.551
5          GEORGETOWN - 6:33.241
6          WISCONSIN - 6:41.965 

3V Grand Final
1          CALIFORNIA - 5:47.554
2          WASHINGTON - 5:49.750
3          BROWN - 5:50.794
4          NORTHEASTERN - 5:53.282
5          BU - 5:54.804
6          PRINCETON - 6:04.807 

F8 Grand Final
1          WASHINGTON - 5:46.324
2          CALIFORNIA - 5:52.105
3          BROWN - 5:54.086
4          HARVARD - 5:55.150
5          WISCONSIN - 5:56.993
6          CORNELL - 5:57.550 

2V Grand Final
1          CALIFORNIA - 5:42.880
2          PRINCETON - 5:45.133
3          WASHINGTON - 5:46.282
4          BROWN - 5:48.470
5          NORTHEASTERN - 5:51.269
6          NAVY - 5:54.403 

V8 Grand Final
1          WASHINGTON - 5:37.113
2          BROWN - 5:39.626
3          CALIFORNIA - 5:42.063
4          PRINCETON - 5:43.715
5          HARVARD - 5:45.389
6          YALE - 5:51.754

Team Championship Points

1. University of Washington 192.0
2. University of California  188.0
3. Brown University 178.0
4. Princeton University 165.0
5. Northeastern University 147.0
6. Boston University 128.0
7. Harvard University 127.0
8. Yale University 125.0
9. Cornell University 124.0
10.University of Wisconsin 115.0
11. Naval Academy 107.0
12. Columbia 75.0
13. George Washington University 61.0
14. University of Pennsylvania 58.0
15. Syracuse University 54.0
16. Dartmouth College 45.0
17. Stanford University 39.0
18. Oregon State 38.0
19. Drexel University 33.0
20. FIT 20.0
21. Holy Cross 15.0
22. Hobart 6.0
23. Gonzaga University 3.0
24. University of San Diego 0.0