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The Brown varsity eight crew nipped Harvard for first place at the Eastern Sprints by three-tenths of a second. The Brown varsity eight crew nipped Harvard for first place at the Eastern Sprints by three-tenths of a second.
By Marvin Pave
Globe Correspondent / May 20, 2012
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Local pair spurs

Brown crew teams

Brown University senior Greg Silverberg (top inset) provides stability in the bow seat as cocaptain of the men’s varsity eight boat. Classmate Leigh Carroll (bottom inset) keeps her crew teammates on course as the coxswain.

Together, the two helped the Bears edge favorite Harvard by just over three-tenths of a second at the 67th annual Eastern Sprints last Sunday on Lake Quinsigamond. Brown’s win also ended the Crimson’s two-year reign as the Ivy League champion. Harvard had held off Brown by six-tenths of a second last month in Providence.

Silverberg was a two-time crew captain, and MVP, at Shrewsbury High, while Carroll, a Sherborn resident, was coxswain for the girls’ team at Middlesex School in Concord, and last summer for the U-23 American women's eight at the world championships.

“Greg's been our bow man since his sophomore year when we moved him from the three-seat. His role is so important because he influences the balance of our boat. He's a tough competitor and a great leader,” said Brown coach Paul Cooke, whose team is preparing for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association’s championship regatta in Camden, N.J., from May 31 to June 2.

“I received a strong recommendation from Leigh's coaches at the Boston Rowing Club,” added the coach, “and her ability to stay collected and in command of the situation has improved since she and Greg were part of our freshman eight that also won the Eastern championship. She has a lot of responsibility, calling commands, steering and executing our race plan and she puts a lot of pressure on herself to succeed.”

Silverberg, who weighs a tad over 170 pounds, stayed in shape his first couple of years at Brown by participating in triathlons. Last summer, he finished third with a Brown teammate in pairs competition at the Canadian Henley rowing event.

From his vantage point, Silverberg said, it was hard to tell whether Brown had indeed beaten Harvard.

“But then I heard our guys cheering from the stern and realized what we had done,” he said. “It's a great feeling as the bow man to have contributed. I can recall only three or four races since I've been at Brown that have been so close as last weekend. We expected the race to come down to the wire and trained for that situation.

“Both teams, Brown and Harvard, have great respect for one another,'' added Silverberg, who will, coincidentally, attend graduate school at Harvard.

As a freshman at Brown, he never envisioned being a team captain, Silverberg said, noting that “I was on the smaller side, but it's been a great honor and I'm really glad my teammates appreciated the hard work I've put in.”

He also said he appreciates what Carroll brings to the boat.

“Leigh is an excellent coxswain who sets a high standard,” he said. “She's as aggressive and competitive as the rest of us and has done a great job.” Carroll has been invited to the U-23 tryout camp after the IRA regatta.

Silverberg has a well-earned reputation as the Bears’ hardest worker. “No one cares more about his teammates than Greg,” said Carroll.

Carroll was the only female coxswain among six boats in the Eastern Sprints grand final.

“The pressure really mounted the closer we got to the line. It was pretty stressful and I'm proud of the way our team handled it,” said Carroll, who has Olympic aspirations.

“It all came down to the last five strokes for both teams and at the end I was gasping for breath because I was yelling so much.

“Last summer's experience at the world championships gave me more confidence under pressure,'' she added. “I just love the excitement and the team aspect of the sport.”

DiAntonio gives valedictorian address

Assumption College senior football captain Nick DiAntonio of Milford received a standing ovation after his commencement address as valedictorian last Sunday in Worcester.

DiAntonio has been selected to the National Football Foundation's Hampshire Honor Society, which recognizes top senior scholar-athletes.

“We must find and align ourselves with our true north,” said DiAntonio in his closing words, “by means of serving others, always acting with humility, and living with unquestionable integrity.”

A 5-foot-8, 200-pound middle linebacker, he ranked second in the Northeast-10 Conference and 13th in Division 2 with 10.60 tackles per game. His 21 tackles against Southern Connecticut tied the program's single-game record.

Notables

Springfield College quarterback Josh Carter of Marlborough was named the school’s Senior Male Team Athlete of the Year, and Springfield sophomore pitcher/first baseman Mike McGowan of Franklin was a second team all-conference pick. . . Dartmouth College senior cocaptain Sarah Plumb of Wellesley was honored as Ivy League women's lacrosse Player of the Year after setting several school and league records. . . Columbia University graduating senior fullback Nico Papas of Watertown was also selected to the NFF's Hampshire Society. . . . Babson College women's basketball standout Kathleen King shared Female Athlete of the Class honors, and men's soccer star Max Walker of Newton was lauded as Male Athlete of the Class at the annual senior awards banquet. . . Northborough's Shayna Solomon, a junior at Algonquin Regional High who was one of six Sing Your Way to Fenway finalists from among 150 hopefuls, performed the national anthem before the Red Sox game April 30.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.

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