MEN’S CREW | Bulldogs sweep Navy in opener

The Bulldogs notched the Johnson Cup in their third straight victory over Navy.
The Bulldogs notched the Johnson Cup in their third straight victory over Navy. Photo by Brandon Blaesser.

The lightweight crew team started its spring season with a dominant victory over Navy on Saturday, winning all of its races on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J.

With the win, the Elis retained the Johnson Cup, which is awarded to the victor of the Yale/Navy regatta, with their third straight win over the Midshipmen.

“We knew that Navy would be giving us their best, and we were prepared for that,” head coach Andrew Card said in an email.

Yale’s third varsity four started off the competition by beating a trio of fours from Navy. They finished the race in 6:59.7, more than eight seconds ahead of the closest Navy boat.

The freshman eight continued the winning trend when they finished their race in 6:14.5, beating the Navy freshmen by 11.6 seconds. Team captain Will Ferraro ’13 said that he was proud of how well the freshmen performed in their first spring race.

“I’ve been impressed by how this group of freshmen has banded together and rallied around one another,” Ferraro said. “They are a tight group, and they’re committed to getting better every day.”

The third race of the day, between the second varsity eights, was much closer than the previous contests. The Bulldogs jumped ahead early in the race, but the Midshipmen chipped away at the lead and the two boats were level at the halfway point before the Elis pulled away for the four-second win.

“As a boat, we executed certain parts of our race plan well, and there are other parts that we can improve,” said Ferraro, who rowed in the second varsity race.

Yale’s varsity eight followed up that performance to complete the sweep of Navy’s crew with a commanding 13.9 second victory, finishing the race in 6:04.08.

Joshua Ruck ’13, a member of the varsity eight crew, credited his younger teammates with driving the Bulldogs to victory.

“We had one sophomore in the boat, Greg Hawkins ’15, who did a great job setting a great rhythm for us,” Ruck said. “We also had four juniors who performed well and executed.”

Ferraro said that the Yale crew relished the opportunity to compete again after last weekend’s scrimmage against Trinity, especially against Navy’s skilled team.

“We’re a competitive group, and there’s nothing like testing yourself against a quality opponent. It’s why we love to row,” he said.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs will compete at the first of two home regattas this season when they take on MIT and Georgetown in at the Gilder Boathouse in Derby, Conn. Card said Georgetown has often been a strong opponent and that MIT’s varsity eight includes talented freshmen that could make the Engineers faster than they were last year.

Last year, the Elis won all four races against Georgetown and MIT by an average of 10.4 seconds, and they are looking to repeat that dominant performance next weekend at home.

A spectator bus will leave from Payne Whitney Gym at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and return to campus in time for brunch.

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