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Benedict Tufnell

Yale Top Dogs in 2017 – IRA Championship Finals, June 4

by Benedict Tufnell

Sacramento, Calif. 

The regular US College rowing season drew to a close today on the warm waters of Lake Natoma in Sacramento California, with scorching racing to match the weather.

In lightweight women’s racing, it was all Stanford’s way today. In the first race of the morning, the ‘Cardinals’ from nearby Palo Alto took the lightweight women’s double title before going on to win the lightweight women’s varsity four and eight to complete their IRA clean sweep for 2017.

The three lightweight men’s titles all go to East Coast teams in 2017, with Harvard taking the LM4-, Navy the LM4+ and Cornell the LM8+. For the heavyweight men however it looked to be heading for a Washington clean sweep. Coming into the final race of the day – the blue riband, men’s varsity eights grand final – Washington already had the varsity four, 3rd Varsity and 2nd Varsity eight gold medals in hand. However a blistering performance from legendary coach Steve Gladstone’s Yale crew denied the Huskies a repeat of last weekends NCAA championships where the Washington women won all three Division I finals.

Yale led the whole race, but a late charge from Washington bought the huskies to within inches of Yale’s bowball on the line, causing an agonising wait as officials deliberated for some minutes over the finish line photo before a winner could be announced, to many loud cheers from the Yale camp.

It’s the first time the IRA varsity eight has been won by a team other then Cal or Washington since 2008. It was also a record 12th national championship win for coach Gladstone. “Those numbers are only interesting in retrospect” said a pensive Gladstone after the race. “What is satisfying is seeing your oarsman perform at a high level at the exact time they needed to.”


Full results here.

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