The fourth-ranked Princeton heavyweights didn’t make the trip to Boston this weekend for any reason but to return with the Compton Cup. While that didn’t happen, the Tigers can leave feeling like it is certainly in the mix for a much bigger title next month.
Third-ranked Harvard retained the Compton Cup for the eighth straight year, though its margin was as close as its been in any race on the Charles since Princeton’s 2006 victory. In fact, while Harvard won three of the four races, each one was by the slimmest of margins.
Harvard was able to take advantage of a strong start on its home course, where it extended its lead to about one length. Princeton cut into it over the final 750 meters, but it could never get its bow ahead of the reigning Ivy League champion Crimson. Harvard won in 6:09.0, while Princeton finished in 6:10.1.
“I don’t like losing, but at the same time, we had a good race,” head coach Greg Hughes said. “There are some things we can look at and take away, and things we absolutely need to work on. We’re in the mix, and we have to clean some things up. I think we’re on the right track. We are trying to have our best speed in May.
“It was a gutsy race by our guys,” Hughes added.
Harvard extends its lead in the Compton Cup series to 62-14, with MIT winning once.
The two teams are still a month out from meeting again on Lake Quinsigamond for the 2014 EARC Championships. That race, which determines the Ivy League champion, has belonged to Harvard three of the last four years.
“I think the guys see some simple things to go and work on,” Hughes said. “Winning or losing, the goal is to continue to tune up our boats. There were a couple younger guys in it, and they saw it. Sometimes in the thick of the race, you can’t always react right away. If you can keep it from happening later, that’s what is great.”
The race was one of several thrillers on the Charles River. The Harvard 2V rallied from a deficit to top Princeton by .4 of a second, while the Princeton 3V topped the Crimson by 16 seconds. This came one year after the Princeton 2V defeated Harvard at home, which shows that Hughes’ program is inching closer to some of the East’s deepest teams, Brown and Harvard.
“There is obviously still a lot of season left” Hughes said. “The guys are excited to race, and they have energy. I think that has been the goal, to learn some things to race harder and be better each week.”
Second Varsity Eight
Harvard 1F 6:30.6
Third Varsity Eight
Fourth Varsity Eight