The Princeton men's lightweights knew they were in a loaded field for Sunday's IRA national championship race at Mercer Lake. In that situation, a strong race could lead you to a golden finish or a spot outside the Top 3.
At the Eastern Sprints, Princeton was able to get back to the medal dock; on Sunday, the field just got away from the Tigers midway through the 2000-meter showdown.
Princeton finished fifth overall in a time of 5:55.362, which was about 5.4 seconds behind Columbia for the top three. Cornell capped a perfect season with an IRA championship in 5:47.921, and it had to hold off a strong charge from reigning champion Harvard (5:48.463) in the final 15 strokes to win gold.
Columbia held off Yale for third in 5:49.962, while the Tigers finished well ahead of Dartmouth for fifth place.
"The race just got away from us," head coach Marty Crotty said. "I don't think we had a bad race, but that is what the IRA is all about. Sometimes you have a burner, and if you miss the front of the pack, it's a difficult situation. As prepared as we were for how we thought that race would go, we just weren't able to get in position to do what we had to do."
The varsity four also reached its grand final, though it finished sixth in 6:44.824.
Princeton will return every rower from both IRA boats, as well as a couple rowers from the V8 who suffered injuries prior to IRAs. Not only did Princeton medal at Sprints, but it defeated every boat in the league at least once besides Cornell, which went undefeated on the year.
"This result doesn't change all of the positives we had this season," Crotty said. "I feel good about what we accomplished, and I look forward to moving forward even more next season.
VARSITY EIGHT GRAND FINAL
VARSITY FOUR GRAND FINAL