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NCAA Fencing
With Full Boat, Womenís Lightweights Ready To Charge Radcliffe At IRAs
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Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications
Release: 05/31/2013



Ever since a season-opening victory over Wisconsin, Princeton women’s lightweight head coach Paul Rassam has believed that his team had the potential for a special season. Injuries and other forms of adversity got in the way, but Princeton may just find a completed boat when it competes for the IRA national championship this weekend.

While there is plenty of youth in the boat, including three sophomores and a pair of freshmen, there is also some returning experience. While Alex Morss was part of the varsity eight that won the 2011 Eastern Sprints championship, fellow classmate Olivia Panaccio Tresham has returned from an injury that kept her out of the boat for the majority of the season.

Princeton got a taste of its main competition late this season, with losses to No. 1 Radcliffe at both the Lightweight Invitational and the Eastern Sprints. While the Tigers made up some ground at Sprints, they know the challenge will be a great one when they face both Radcliffe and three-time reigning champion Stanford this weekend.

Princeton will start the weekend in the second heat on Friday (8:45 am Pacific), racing against Stanford, Bucknell and MIT. The top six boats will return to Lake Natoma at 11:35 Sunday for the grand final. Princeton will also race a lightweight four, which will go for gold at 9 am Sunday.

Based on the team’s performance on Cooper River in early May, Rassam is very optimistic about the competitive fire Princeton will bring this weekend, when it looks to shake up the field and bring home its first IRA championship since 2003.

“I thought we showed a lot of poise,” Rassam said of Princeton’s performance at Eastern Sprints. “I think everything is going in the right direction at the right time. You are never exactly sure how some young athletes will perform in a championship race, but I thought they performed like veterans. I think we have a pretty cool group in those freshmen and sophomores.”

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