LIVERPOOL, N.Y., JUNE 5 -- The University of Wisconsin put two more boats into the championship rounds of the 85th annual Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta today, but Navy took best advantage of the repechages by gaining berths in four events.
"That's one of the beauties of the IRA regatta," Navy Coach Rick Clothier said. "You get a second chance."
His rowers will compete in six championship events Saturday afternoon on Onondaga Lake even though they had only three first-place finishers.
"It doesn't matter how you get there," he said. "There have been plenty of teams who come through the reps and beat everybody in the big race."
Navy, which Friday won heats in the varsity pairs without coxswain and varsity eights events and qualified crews in freshman fours with coxswain and open fours, won today with its freshman eights team. The Midshipmen and four other crews automatically qualified for the varsity fours competition when Dartmouth withdrew from the regatta because of a measles outbreak on campus, which left the event with only five participants.
While Navy was the big winner on the day, it is the University of Wisconsin that for the second consecutive year will have boats racing in seven of the eight racing categories. Wisconsin, which placed five shells into the final round Thursday, added the open fours and varsity eights races to its cachet with victories.
The Badgers finished with the most points at last year's regatta and won the Jim Ten Eyck Memorial trophy and appear poised to make a strong bid for it again.
The varsity eights field Saturday will hold four of the six schools that competed for the cup last year: Brown, Wisconsin, Navy and Pennsylvania, the top four finishers in 1986. California and Princeton complete the line-up.
Clothier called it the "toughest" competition he has seen in the final race in years. "It's going to be a dandy race. I guess Brown is probably the favorite. But Wisconsin is strong, and don't overlook Pennsylvania," said Clothier, who added that he expects his crew to be a contender.
The Midshipmen won the closest race today to gain a spot in the varsity eights final. Navy finished the 2,000-meter course in 6:22.5, just ahead of Syracuse, 6:23.7, and Boston University, 6:24.9.