ANNAPOLIS, MAY 30 -- Wisconsin raced to an early lead and withstood several challenges to defeat Navy by one deck in 6 minutes 2.2 seconds this morning on the Severn River. Navy rowed the 2,000-meter course at the Buck Walsh Trophy Regatta in 6:05.4.

"Last year we lost to Wisconsin by six seconds, so one way of looking at today's race is that we cut that margin in half," Navy Coach Rick Clothier said. "Wisconsin was a close second to Brown in the Eastern Sprints, so we got a look today at one of the top contenders for next weekend's IRA {Intercollegiate Rowing Association} Regatta in Syracuse. We didn't win, but we proved to ourselves and to Wisconsin that we could row with them."

Wisconsin's strategy was to sprint to a lead and then counter each Navy rally. And the Badgers' execution was nearly perfect as they raced to a one-third boat-length lead after 500 meters. Navy was within two seats by the race's midpoint, but Wisconsin again lengthened its lead -- this time to one boat length.

Navy won two of today's eight races -- varsity four without coxswain and the varsity pair without coxswain. The Midshipmen's loss in the junior eight race, however, was much closer than expected.

Wisconsin's JV boat won the Eastern Sprints, but Navy's junior crew has struggled this season. The Midshipmen trailed by about three-quarters of a boat length until about 20 yards from the finish when a Navy rower lost his grip on the oar and stretched the final margin to 6.8 seconds. Wisconsin's winning time was 6:10.2.