A roster loaded with talented youth got a taste of the biggest stage of all Saturday afternoon, and head coach Paul Rassam liked what he saw. The Princeton women's lights, with only two seniors in its top boat, qualified for the IRA national final on Cooper River and took fifth.
Stanford, which edged out Princeton in a thrilling duel last season, won its third straight national championship in 6:31.14, more than 2.5 seconds faster than silver medalist Bucknell. Radcliffe pushed past Wisconsin for the final spot on the medal stand.
While Rassam would have obviously loved a trip back to the stand, he knows that this could be a big step on a journey for this program.
"I am tremendously proud of our squad," he said. "They really progressed a huge amount from November to today, a lot more than most people realize. It has been really fun to be part of this."
The young crew was able to benefit from its senior duo of Emily Clonts and Kathryn O'Connell, who led Princeton to the 2011 Eastern title and IRA silver medal. This was their final collegiate race for the Orange and Black.
"We are particularly indebted to both Emily and Kathryn," Rassam said. "They love this team and they gave their hearts to this rebuilding effort. They are truly special people."
Princeton also sent out a lightweight four, which placed fifth in its national final. All times can be found below.
Women’s Lightweight Eight • Grand Final
1 – Stanford 6:31.141
2 – Bucknell 6:33.736
3 – Radcliffe 6:35.479
4 – Wisconsin 6:36.63
5 – Princeton 6:47.108
6 – Georgetown 6:50.789
Women’s Lightweight Four • Grand Final
1 – Wisconsin 7:14.633
2 – Stanford 7:19.463
3 – SUNY Buffalo 7:25.444
4 – Radcliffe 7:34.689
5 – Princeton 7:47.025
6 – Georgetown 8:06.418