June 12, 2006
COOPER RIVER, N.J. - In the Petite Final at the 2006 IRA National Championship Regatta, MIT took early control of the showdown with its competitors. Coming across the line first with a split of 7:07.75, the Engineers rowed past Dayton (7:12.07), Rhode Island (7:13.1), Lehigh (7:16.37), Ohio State (7:19.01) and Stanford (7:23.38) en route to the victory.
The Engineers are feeling strong and enthusiastic after a solid showing at the IRAs. They spent the three weeks between Sprints and IRAs training while studying for spring exams. The final line up consisted of five novice rowers, two sophomores, one junior, and a senior coxswain.
The weekend of racing started off strong with a fourth-place finish in the heats. The MIT lightweight eight came across the line in 6:51.53, behind Georgetown (6:46.35), Bucknell (6:41.9), and Radcliffe (6:41.6). Beating Stanford (7:01.12) and Ohio State (7:17.63), the women knew that they had already improved upon the pre-race seeding polls. As a young crew, they went into the event with a fearless and hopeful spirit.
In the repechages, the team was tested when faced with eventual gold medal crew Wisconsin. The crew went out with reckless abandon and fought for a second place finish (7:10.10), just nine seconds behind the Badgers final clip (7:01.3). Beating Ohio State (7:19.9) and Lehigh (7:41.2), the Engineers were feeling confident as they set their sights on a first place finish in the Petite Final.
Though the youth-laden unit was proud to have met its goals for the regatta, they have already redirected their focus to next year's racing season. Knowing that the competition is becoming more and more competitive, the team is committing to making fitness gains over the summer months and are looking forward to building on the momentum the 2001 MIT women's crew began. Coming in less than a second behind third-place Radcliffe, the lightweights had left the IRAs emptyhanded. The current Engineers are striving to shift the tide of MIT rowing in the coming years. Based on their performances this past spring, they feel encouraged about their potential.