Nearly four decades after winning the first Ivy League title event for women, Shelley Pearson and her Harvard University Heavyweight Varsity Eight started the newest Ancient Eight eventóthe inaugural Ivy League Championship on the Cooper Riverówith another victory.
The members of Harvardís Heavyweight Varsity Eight earned first-team All-Ivy League honors. They are: coxswain Jill Carlson and rowers Pearson, Lucy Grinalds, Liz Soutter, Mimi Tanski, Courtney Diekema, Jenna Gregoire, Scout Moran and Mary Maginnis.
"It was breathtaking," said Harvard head coach Liz O'Leary, whose varsity entered as the No. 5 seed in a wide-open field. "There were six super-fast eights in the varsity final, and I knew it would take an extraordinary performance to win it."
Top-seeded Princeton took a narrow lead on a tightly packed field and led second-place Harvard by a half-second after 500 meters. The pair moved away from the field in the next 500, building a cushion of nearly three seconds on third-place Cornell. Radcliffe remained less than a second back of Princeton at the race's midway point.
"We really put a lot of emphasis this weekend on our second 500 and on finding a base speed that was fast and sustainable," O'Leary said.
Harvard gradually moved through Princeton in the second half of the race, Cornell followed. With 500 meters to go, Harvard led Princeton by nearly two seconds, with Cornell in a close third. The margin only grew as the finish approached, and Pearson and her Harvard teammates won by 2.8 seconds in 6:17.744. Princeton finished 1.5 seconds before Cornell, who edged Yale for the bronze by about one-tenth of a second.