LIGHTWEIGHT CREW | Bulldogs launch season

On the heels of the heavyweight crew team’s sweeping home victory against Brown last weekend, the lightweight crew team will open its spring season this Saturday against Navy in Princeton, N.J.

The Bulldogs will take on the Midshipmen in four races — the varsity eight, junior varsity eight, second junior varsity eight, and freshmen eight — on Lake Carnegie, fighting to take home the ninth annual Johnson Cup. Saturday’s race will present the Blue and White with two challenges, head coach Andy Card said.

“[First,] Navy is always a deep and fast team, and second, it’s our first race of the spring,” Card said. “Your first race is, well, your first race, and we have many new guys on the team — new guys in the freshman eight by definition, sophomores new to varsity competition, and new guys in the varsity boat. Everyone is racing up.”

Card added that many talented seniors, including five in the varsity eight, graduated last year, so the top 16 slots must be filled.

But even with the new roster, the team hopes to keep one thing the same from last year. The Bulldogs are defending their No. 1 ranking in the nation after the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship last June. The 2011 season was the first time since 2005 that Yale finishedvarsity race. Last weekend, the Midshipmen lost to Princeton by 5.3 seconds in the varsity race.

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