October 20, 2008

Bears Take Second at Head of the Charles

Oct. 20, 2008

Boston, MA - The Brown men's crew capped off a strong showing at the 44th Head of the Charles Regatta this weekend with a second place finish in the men's Championship Eight, coming in behind only perennial powerhouse Washington, and finishing first among Ivy and EARC crews. In an extraordinarily close race, the Bears finished with a time of 14:29, a scant 1.7 seconds from the win despite being blocked by other boats at times during the race. Among the crews that finished behind the Bears were boats from France, England, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey, several of which were composed of national team members. The finish was the highest for the Bears in over a decade.

"The guys raced well and kept their speed up throughout the race course," head coach Paul Cooke said. "The fall has gone well so far and we have a strong group. They have taken the initiative and started the year with a lot of enthusiasm. I look forward to seeing them develop over the course of the year. "

Making up the Brown varsity 8 was, from bow, Christian Crynes '10 (Seattle, WA), Brent Mylrea '11 (McFarland, WI), Matt Wheeler '09 (Eugene, OR), Cole Bonner '10 (Chicago, IL), Ben Duggan '10 (Bingham, UK), Scott Morgan '10 (Palo Alto, CA), Nick Ritter '10 (Huntsville, AL), and Gareth Seymour '09 (Niagara Falls, ON), with Rob O'Leary '09 (Fayetteville, N.Y.) coxing.

Brown was initially listed as having finished seventh, the result of a mistaken penalty by the course official. Wisconsin refused to yield as the Bears attempted to pass, and the race official accidentally attributed the penalty to Brown. The officials were able to remediate the situation, however, and the Bears were restored to their rightful second place.

"The Wisconsin crew didn't yield but guys kept their heads, did their job and got past them," Cooke said. "They did a good job of not letting it affect them and kept their poise throughout the race."

Proving that they have talent well beyond just the first boat, the Bears also saw their "B" boat finish eighth in the Champ Eight race, with a Brown alumni boat only a second behind in ninth. In an extremely impressive showing, all three of the Brown boats finished ahead of every other Ivy squad in the race.

Bruno also saw a solid performance in the Champ Four, as the crew completed the course in 16:40, which would have been good for seventh place. Unfortunately, however, they were assessed a one-minute penalty for interference, which bumped them down to 17th. In spite of the setback though, it was a solid row for the Bears, particularly considering that a number of crews who beat them only had one eight at the regatta, illustrating Brown's depth.

The Bears got a look at the future from their freshman eight, which competed in the open division on Saturday afternoon and turned in a good race.  Racing against the top boats from some schools as well as several competitive clubs, the frosh crossed the line in eighth place with a time of 15:37.3, edging out ninth-place Colgate by less than half a second.  After only a month of training to adjust to the collegiate level and learn to row with each other, the race was a good sign of things to come from the freshman class.

The Bears will be in action again on November 22, when they will return to Boston to compete in the Tail of the Charles.