Women’s crew races by Cornell, Syracuse

The women’s crew team maintained its early season pace and remained undefeated, knocking off No. 7 Syracuse and Cornell on the Housatonic River in Derby, Conn. Saturday.

Battling through blustery, near-freezing conditions, the No. 5 Bulldogs’ first varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight all moved to 4-0 on the season.

“I was pleased with the performance of all three crews in the very rough conditions,” head coach Will Porter said.

In the top eight race, the Bulldogs won by a commanding margin of more than six seconds over Syracuse and more than 13 seconds over Cornell. Yale’s quick time of 6:05.4 was aided by a strong, gusting tailwind and current, and avenged last year’s loss to the Orangewomen.

“Overall, we were very happy with our results against Cornell and Syracuse,” captain Megan Leitch ’02 said. “We won against a team which beat us last year.”

Yale’s second boat produced a much narrower victory. With a time of 6:26.4, the Bulldogs were only 1.1 seconds ahead of the Orangewomen and 3.2 seconds ahead of the Big Red.

Porter said that his second squad’s performances in upcoming races will be crucial in the team’s run at an NCAA berth.

“Our second varsity boat needs to step up in the next few weeks,” Porter said.

The Bulldogs earned their most resounding victory of the day in the novice eights. Racing to a time of 6:50.2, the Yale rowers dispatched with the Orangewomen rookies by nearly seven seconds and crushed the Big Red by more than 15.

In the varsity fours, the Yale crew struggled to a third place finish seven seconds behind Cornell.

The Bulldogs’ second novice boat took second place in a time of 7:16, only 3.2 seconds behind the victorious Big Red.

Despite the victory, the Elis are not content with their mid-season form and are looking ahead to the major races at the end of the season.

“Since it’s early in the season, all of of our boats have room for improvement,” Leitch said. “None of us will be truly satisfied until we see all of the regular-season crews at Eastern Sprints, when every team is at its top speed.

The Eli women will look to remain undefeated this weekend as they travel to Boston Saturday to meet Dartmouth and Boston University in the Yale Class of ’85 Cup. The races will have significant post-season implications as Yale will be facing two top competitors in the Northeast region.

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