Crews race toward Eastern Sprints, NCAAs

Yale’s varsity crews — lightweight, heavyweight and women — all took another step forward this weekend in their preparation for Eastern Sprints and the NCAA Championships.

The lightweight crews remained untouched as they swept all of the varsity races against Penn and Columbia in the Dodge Cup on the Housatonic River in Derby, Conn.

“I thought that all the crews made progress this weekend,” Yale lightweight head coach Andy Card said.

The lightweight Bulldogs did not waver from their dominant start to the season. The varsity eight won decisively, finishing with a time of 5:50.3, more than seven seconds ahead of the Quakers and over 10 seconds ahead of the Lions.

“The strongest part of the varsity race was that we found a comfortable base speed,” lightweight captain Ian Malloch ’02 said. “Now we need to build on that base.”

In the second varsity boat, the Elis rowed to an easy victory with a time of 5:53.4, outpacing the Quakers and Lions by more than 13 seconds each.

The first novice eight race, which the Elis won by under a second, provided one of the most exciting finishes of the day.

“The first freshmen raced very well against an excellent crew from Penn who came to Derby undefeated,” Card said. “It was a real classic that was decided in the last 200 meters.”

The lightweights also won the varsity four.

In the Blackwell Cup, the heavyweights’ only home meet of the spring, the Bulldogs continued their improvement, finishing a close second to Penn in the varsity eight.

The heavyweights did not manage to match the win total of the lightweights, but head coach Dave Vogel said the team made a lot of progress.

“It was a huge step forward,” Vogel said. “This is much more what of we’ve been trying to get together and was a perfect indication of the team’s hard work.”

In a hotly contested varsity race, the Quakers edged the Elis by three-quarters of a deck, or less than a second. The two crews, which separated from Columbia early in the race, were never more than three seats apart from each other.

Yale finished with a time of 5:46.9.

“The team did well,” heavyweight captain Nate Kirk ’02 said. “The lineups were fresh and promised some good speed that was evident toward the end of the race.”

The Bulldogs took three of the day’s remaining four races, with the second varsity eight and the novice eight boats staying undefeated on the season. Despite a late run by the Penn boat in the second varsity eight race, the Yale crew managed to win by a three-second margin. The novices won by six seconds over the Lions.

While the lightweights and heavyweights competed at home, the women’s crew suffered its first losses of the season against host Princeton in the Carnegie Cup.

With no race decided by more than seven seconds, the Lady Tigers fended off the Eli women in four of five contests.

“I think on that day, on their home course, Princeton raced like they wanted it more,” women’s head coach Will Porter said.

Princeton took the varsity eight by a single stroke, winning with a time of 6:53.6, only 1.7 seconds ahead of the Yale boat. The two crews were never more than four seats apart.

“I expected close racing by two of the best teams in the league, and that is exactly what we got,” Porter said. “The varsity did many things right, unfortunately those things don’t show up in the win-loss column.”

The trend of close losses continued for the women’s crews as they lost the second varsity eight and varsity four by four and seven second margins, respectively.

The lone bright spot for the Eli women came in the novice eight. The Yale boat edged Princeton by a nose with a time of 7:11.7.

The women’s crew hosts Radcliffe this Saturday for the Case Cup, while the lightweights travel to Hanover, N.H., to race Dartmouth and Rutgers in the Durand Cup. The heavyweights will compete for the Carnegie Cup against Cornell and host Princeton.

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