Women's Crews All Make Grand Finals at Ivy League Championships; NCAA Bid Still Possible
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars
PENNSAUKEN, N.J. -- Brown, Princeton, Radcliffe (Harvard). The royalty of Eastern collegiate women's rowing.
And Columbia. Yes, the Lions take their place among that royalty after their brilliant showing at the 2013 Ivy League Championships Sunday on the Cooper River.
Brown, Princeton, Radcliffe and Columbia were the only four of the Ivy Championships schools to qualify all their crews for the Grand Finals.
The varsity eights, second varsity eights, and the two varsity fours, A and B, all reached the Grand Finals. Even more incredibly, that was a 400% improvement over the 2012 Ivy Championships, when not one Lion craft reached a Grand Final!
"We're so excited," women's head coach Scott Ramsey said. "It's a big step for us as a program. I'm very proud of that."
The varsity eights reached the Grand Final by placing third in their morning heat, the two fours each placed second of four in their heats, but the second varsity eight topped them all by snaring first place in its heat, and in a power-packed field, no less.
Columbia covered the 2000 meters in 6:51.407, nosing out Dartmouth (6:51.430) by 23/100 of a second. Radcliffe was just a second back in 6:52.558. Only Yale lagged, fourth in 7:03.136.
The B Four placed highest in the Grand Final, taking fourth, one spot short of a medal, in 8:20.728. They were beaten out by Brown, Radcliffe and Princeton.
The other three Lion entries all placed fifth in their Grand Finals -- the A four behind Brown, Yale, Princeton and Radcliffe; the second varsity trailing Brown, Radcliffe, Princeton and Cornell; and the varsity eight behind Princeton, Yale, Radcliffe and Cornell.
Cornell? The Big Red had spent most of the season near the bottom of the Ivy League's first varsity eights, and were not expected to reach the top four in the Grand Final, according to Ramsey. But they may have been the beneficiary of an inadvertent lane advantage.
Through a freak of the Cooper River course, fueled by a strong headwind, Lanes 5 and 6, Ramsey noted, rowed very fast all day. The committee charged with ensuring fairness re-seeded the field with different lanes prior to the varsity eights Grand Final, not uncommon on the Cooper River, but chose to re-seed just Lane 5, not Lane 6. It was in that lane that Cornell took fourth place in 6:46.465, 3/10 of a second ahead of Columbia, fifth in 6:46.801 while rowing in Lane 1.
That will form much of an appeal that Ramsey and Columbia expect to pursue early this week, certainly before the NCAA Selection Committee meets to consider at-large selections to the NCAA Championships, May 31 to June 2 in Indianapolis.
The dispute, though, could not overshadow Columbia's outstanding feat in making all four Grand Finals Sunday.
Today's Columbia results:

Ivy League Championships
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Cooper River, Pennsauken, N.J.

Varsity Eights - Grand Final
1. Princeton, 6:29.961
2. Yale, 6:36.859
3. Radcliffe, 6:41.108
4. Cornell, 6:46.465
5. COLUMBIA, 6:46.801
6. Brown, 6:50.926
(3rd of 4 in heat)

Second Varsity Eights - Grand Final
1. Brown, 6:41.366
2. Radcliffe, 6:43.507
3. Princeton, 6:47.010
4. Cornell, 6:54.868
5. COLUMBIA, 6:56.113
6. Dartmouth, 7:04.106
(1st of 4 in heat)

Varsity Fours, A - Grand Final
1. Brown, 7:39.511
2. Yale, 7:43.215
3. Princeton, 7:48.427
4. Radcliffe, 7:54.199
5. COLUMBIA, 7:55.512
6. Penn, 8:12.631
(2nd of 4 in heat)

Varsity Fours, B - Grand Final
1. Brown, 7:52.390
2. Radcliffe, 7:58.694
3. Princeton, 8:10.965
4. COLUMBIA, 8:20.728
5. Cornell, 8:24.065
6. Dartmouth, 8:30.260
(2nd of 4 in heat)

Today's Columbia Boatings:

Varsity Eight
Aneesha Baliga, cox; Rebecca Randall, stroke; Fiona Duffy, 7; Samantha Warren, 6; Amelia Brunner, 5; Karli McMenamin, 4; Jocelyn Bohn, 3; Nikki Bourassa, 2; Lottie Galliano, bow

Second Varsity Eight
Clare Hua, cox; Jessica Werlin, stroke; Hilary Going, 7; Madeline O'Brien, 6; Sylvie Krekow, 5; India Knight, 4; Kellie Solowski, 3; Alexandra Swift, 2; Hayley Weil, bow

Varsity Four, A
Jill Klein, cox; Caitlin Shufelt, stroke; Lily Keane, 3; Colleen Condon, 2; Elisa Mirkil, bow

Varsity Four, B
Audrey Warren, cox; Natalie Rutherford, stroke; Sara Hyten, 3; Maia Claiman, 2; Carly Tashjian, bow