Young Women's Lightweights Place Fifth At National Final, Eye Bright Future
Their minds and effort were more than willing, but the bodies in the women's lightweight varsity eight had extended too much energy during a long Saturday to truly put themselves in the thick of medal contention Sunday at Mercer Lake.
After having to deal with both a tough semifinal and a repechage Saturday, the Princeton varsity eight placed fifth in Sunday's grand final. The Tigers finished in 6:53.945, which was more than 11 seconds off the medal stand. Undefeated Radcliffe held off four-time defending champion Stanford by less than a second to win the championship.
It was a tough break for the Tigers, who fell less than a second short of advancing straight to the championship final from the semifinal. Competing in the first heat on Saturday, the Tigers raced in a lane that was originally set for the second seed. Officials altered the lanes based on weather patterns shortly afterwards, but that came after Princeton fell to Boston University by .9 of a second.
"Physically, I do think we were a little more tired today," freshman Christina Warren said. "Our legs weren't as juiced up and ready to go. Mentally, I think we were ready to go. I think Paul [Rassam] had us ready to go. It was a great race all around."
Head coach Paul Rassam will never know what could have been on Sunday, but he was more focused on his team and its bright future.
"I refuse to define our season off of this," he said. "It was a strong season for us and we will only be better next year."
The varsity four also reached its grand final and placed sixth in 7:54.896.
"We raced well, and we are a young crew with a lot of room to grow moving into next year," assistant coach Hank Zimmerman said. "I'm really proud of how far they all came this year."
Princeton loses two seniors (Maggie Stroebel and Emily Hill) from its varsity eight, but it returns a lot of rowers from its two IRA boats.
"I feel really good about this year," Warren said. "It was a really good year all around. We had some really big results that we hadn't been able to achieve in the past few years, and we have some really good girls coming in next year. I think these next coming years are going to be big years for us."
VARSITY EIGHT GRAND FINAL
VARSITY FOUR GRAND FINAL