PENNSAUKEN, N.J. -- Brown was the Ivy League's shinning light through a stormy day on the Cooper River for the 110th Intercollegiate Racing Association (IRA) National Championships, sending its top three boats to Saturday's grand finals.
Brown is in championship position as its varsity eight and varsity four boats each won its semifinal heats while its second varsity eight placed third in its semifinal heat. The Bears have a total of five boats in the grand finals with their freshman eight and open four entries also advancing.
Brown's varsity eight moved on the grand final in convincing fashion, winning its semifinal heat over Harvard in open water and in over five seconds ahead of the Crimson. The Bears V8 boat narrowly edged Harvard by just three-tenths of second for the Ivy League title at the EARC Sprints nearly three weeks prior.
With its second-place finish, Harvard moved on for a chance for its first Varsity Challenge Cup in seven years. The Crimson also had its second varsity eight place second in its semifinal draw, while its freshman eight took third in its semifinal and the open four won its repechage.
Other Ivies fell short of qualifying for grand finals but will be in action Saturday in petite finals -- Cornell, Princeton and Yale in the V8, Cornell and Penn in the 2V8 and Harvard and Yale in the V4.
The final day of the 2012 IRAs is slated to begin with the lightweights hitting the water for the first time with the varsity eight and varsity four heat to determine which crews will be competiting for that national championship just after noon. The heavyweight close out its races later in the morning, culminating in the V8 final at 11:45 a.m.