Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Head of the Charles Recap

The 46th running of the Head of the Charles is now over and done, and it's time to take another look at some of the predictions I made prior to the race. First -- let's look at the Men's Championship 1x:

Marcel Hacker, as I expected, didn't really commit to this piece and ended up just getting pipped out of first place by Michael Sivigny. The rehabilitation from injury has Hacker slightly lighter than usual, and he was bothered more by the wind, especially coming through Eliot Bridge, than he might have been if he were racing at full strength. A very strong showing, as I predicted, from Mike Perry of the Dolphin Club, who I know has been training quite a bit for this race. Jamie Koven, my predicted winner, finished 6th.

In the Championship 2x, not only did my predicted winner, the Graves brothers, repeat their feat of last year, they did it in dominant fashion, destroying the event this year by 45 seconds (yes, it was 45 seconds back to second place). I'm not surprised, just impressed.

In the Champ VIII, Cal, my predicted winner, finished a very close 3rd, behind Washington and a surprisingly fast Harvard crew racing on home waters. Penn AC finished 13th, as they had some issues with another VIII coming through Eliot Bridge, as was the story for many crews over the weekend. The US Rowing VIII, which finished just behind Cal, had to drop out their bow man for two strokes to make the turn properly, and it's things that like that make it clear that this is a nine-person race -- the coxswain really makes a difference on the Charles.

In the Lightweight 1x, things were unpredictable as usual. Rich Montgomery made an impressive reappearance on the racing circuit with a close 2nd place finish behind Christopher Storm, but Rob Zechmann, one of my favorites to win, finished a distant 13th, with Tim Larsen coming in 9th.

In the Lightweight VIII, Princeton University surprised everyone with an impressive performance. It's not that people don't expect that kind of thing from the Princeton Lightweight Men, it's just that no one expected to see the course record shattered by 12 seconds, from a crew that had to pass up a very quick and well-qualified entry from the NYAC (my predicted winner, who finished 5th, and featured Olympians Andrew Bolton and Pat Todd in their lineup) to get the job done. A very impressive win for Princeton, and certainly a statement about the year to come. Will we see another undefeated season from the Tigers, as we did in 2008 (capped off by a defeat of the Brown Frosh in the Temple Cup at Henley)? Tough to tell with lightweight rowing, but Princeton and Cornell look to be in a very good place going into winter training.

Harvard's program looks to be in great shape at the moment, as they fielded extremely competitive entries in the Club VIII, the Champ VIII, and the Lightweight VIII -- all crews winning or medaling in their events. Where is Gladstone in all this? Looks like Parker is coming out with guns blazing.

As far as my own results go, check out my web page at www.bryankitch.com for a detailed description of the race.

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