The Princeton heavyweights have successfully passed every test early in the 2014 season. Wins over current Top 10 programs such as Penn and Navy are early indicators that the Tigers should be a real factor when the postseason rolls around.
You could call Saturday another test. You could even call it a mid-term. Or you can just skip the descriptors, because you really don’t need them. After all, it’s Harvard week.
The fourth-ranked Tiger heavyweights will return to the Charles River Saturday morning to take on third-ranked Harvard in the 77th Compton Cup regatta. While that matchup is always special to both programs, it is probably the biggest heavyweight showdown in the nation so far this season; this will be the first time two Top-5 programs have met in a dual race.
Harvard comes in with plenty of momentum. The Crimson holds an all-time 61-14 advantage (MIT won the Cup in 1962), and it has won each of the last seven meetings.
The Crimson hasn’t lost a regular season race since 2011, a streak that includes a win by nearly five seconds last week over No. 6 Brown.
“Harvard is a big one, and anyone in the program can tell you that,” said senior Dave Mackasey during last week’s edition of TigerCast. “If you went down and took a look at things this week, you’d probably see a little more intensity. Everyone knows what’s on the line, and they are a big rival of ours.”
Defeating Harvard is challenging enough, but doing it on the Charles River has been a brutal task. Over the last 30 years, only the 2006 Eastern Sprints championship eight accomplished that task. Princeton’s last two trips to the Charles resulted in a DNF in 2010 and a 6.7-second loss in 2012.
Hopefully, there is nowhere to go but up this weekend.
Princeton did have a promising performance in 2013, losing the varsity eight race by only 3.4 seconds and winning in the 2V. Mackasey, part of the 2V last year, knows that this weekend is the start of the sprint towards Sprints.
“If you look at our schedule, we have a lot of big races week after week,” he said. “These are big races that we need to win. It will prove going into Sprints that, if we win these, we are taking the right steps. If for some reason we don’t, we need to fix that. We’ll take it one week at a time.”
And that starts this week.
7:12 a.m. 5V
7:36 a.m. 4V
8:00 a.m. 3V
8:24 a.m. 2V
8:48 a.m. V8