MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin men's rowing team heads to Worcester, Mass., this weekend to compete in the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) conference championships. Also known as the Eastern Sprints, racing will commence at 8:12 a.m. on Sunday, May 13, and conclude in the afternoon.
The Badgers are sending five boats to the Eastern Sprints, including UW's sixth-ranked varsity eight. Only Harvard, Brown and Navy head into the event with a higher ranked varsity eight than Wisconsin.
A total of 18 varsity eight boats will compete for the title, with only the top two from each of the three heats advancing onto the grand final.
"There is very little room for error, making the sprints final is one of the most difficult race of the year for everybody, not just us," commented head coach Chris Clark. "It's cruel here, if you mess up in the first 500 meters, it's over, and that's how fast it happens."
Wisconsin's varsity eight heat will pit the Badgers against No. 5 Navy, No. 12 Yale, No. 13 Boston University, No. 18 George Washington University and Holy Cross.
"I would say this year's heat is about the hardest that we have had in a long time," Clark commented about the competition. "The good news is that there does not seem to be a clear favorite in our heat."
Wisconsin has historically found success at the Eastern Sprints, making it to the grand finals 13 out of the last 15 years.
The Badgers will also be represented in the second and third varsity eights and in the first and second novice eights. Wisconsin's second varsity eight is currently ranked second in the EARC with the first novice eight ranked fifth. The third varsity and second novice eights are ranked third and second in the EARC, respectively.
Last year, Wisconsin's varsity eight placed third and the team as a whole also placed third overall. The second varsity eight claimed a second-place finish and the third varsity eight won its third-consecutive title. The novice eight also took home first place, winning its first title since 2000.