June 2, 2007
COOPER RIVER, N.J. - The MIT lightweight women raced to a seventh-place finish at the IRA National Championships in Cherry Hill, N.J., on Saturday, June 2. After finishing second in Friday's repecharge, MIT delivered a dominating effort in the Petite Final, upending Ohio State en route to the strong national finish.
The Engineers began racing on Friday after entering competition as the No. 12 seed and raced from lane six. The women secured a fifth place finish in the heat, and therefore, raced again Friday afternoon in the repechage. In the repechage, MIT faced last year's silver medallist crew, Georgetown University, along with Lehigh and Long Beach State. Out of the four boats in the race, only one boat would advance to the Grand Final. Although Tech fell short against the Hoyas, they rowed an excellent race to finish second and earn a middle lane in the Petite Final.
The Engineers faced Ohio State, Lehigh, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymont Univeristy and University of Central Florida in the final. The Engineers were ready for a close race as earlier in the year, MIT lost a tight race to UCF and although never seeing Ohio State face to face, knew the Buckeyes would be a serious contender for the win.
The entire field got off to a quick start which resulted in a tight grouping for the first 500 meters. However, in the middle 1,000 meters of the race, MIT pulled away from the competition and continued to move well through the race rowing at 38 strokes per minute. Ohio State made a charge in the last 500 meters, but the Cardinal and Gray was able to maintain its lead and come away with the win, securing a seventh-place ranking in the nation.
According to varsity coach, Irene Jenkins, "It was a great race for this crew. They went out with the sole intention of coming across the line first and got the job done. It was disappointing to not make the Grand Final, but despite the disappointment this crew kept their eye on the prize and raced incredibly well."
The line-up for the varsity eight at the IRAs included three first-year rowers and the return of their stroke-seat who had been injured since last competing in MIT's race versus Princeton and UCF on April 7th.