Lightweights win Cup, then beat Cornell

It’s been a breeze for the men’s crew team this season — even with the extremely breezy weather over the weekend on the Housatonic River.

The men’s lightweight crew team kept the Dodge Cup in its trophy case with a victory over Columbia and Penn. Saturday morning’s three-race sweep led to success in the afternoon, too: The Elis crossed the finish line first in four of five races against defending national champion Cornell in their second races of the day.

“I think our success so far has been the result of the whole team’s constant commitment to improvement,” seven man Brendan McCook ’10 said. “We’ve done a good job so far of using our practices and races to find our weaknesses and address them.”

The morning three went smoothly, allowing the Bulldogs to hold on to the 30-year-old Dodge Cup for the 28th year in a row. The home-team Bulldogs snagged the three races, with the varsity eight coming in 7.3 seconds ahead of Columbia.

Both the 2V and freshman eight boats claimed victories over the Columbia and Penn crews as well.

The afternoon’s choppy waters and windy conditions presented challenges for the Elis and Big Red. With a headwind of 8-11 mph, the No. 1-ranked Cornell squad fell by roughly two boatlengths to the No. 2 Yale crew as the Bulldogs came in with a time of 6:23.6.

“The conditions were certainly a factor,” Yale head coach Andy Card said. “I don’t think the result is a totally accurate reflection of the capability of the crews. It was one of those days when there are two contests, one with the opponent and the other with the conditions. I think all the crews deserve credit for rowing very well considering that we were on the brink of postponing the races.”

McCook said the team did a good job of adapting to a strong current and very choppy river, getting in as many good strokes as it could. The strategy worked, and the win kept the Eli varsity eight undefeated this spring.

Against Cornell, the Elis won everything but the second freshman eight race, giving them seven victories Saturday and a chance to practice for the upcoming Eastern Sprints, a competition structured similarly to Saturday’s doubleheader.

This weekend, the Bulldogs will head to Dartmouth to contend for the Durand Cup. The trophy has been in Rutgers’ possession for the past year, but the Scarlet Knights’ crew was downgraded to a club squad this year.

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