HEAVYWEIGHT CREW | Bulldogs enter the home stretch

After winning the Blackwell Cup this past weekend, the Elis will host a regatta against Cornell and Princeton this Saturday.
After winning the Blackwell Cup this past weekend, the Elis will host a regatta against Cornell and Princeton this Saturday. Photo by Dionis Jahjaga.

After losing its opening regatta of the spring season against Brown, the No. 7 men’s heavyweight crew appears to have hit its stride heading into the home stretch of the season. The squad has won two straight events, including last weekend’s victory at the Blackwell Cup in Philadelphia.

But now the team will begin to compete in the events that really matter. After hosting a regatta against Cornell and Princeton this coming weekend, the team will take a short break before competing at the Eastern Sprints on May 19 and then the IRA National Championships on May 31, June 1 and June 2. The team will conclude its season by facing off against arch nemesis Harvard in New London on June 9.

“We have a very strong crew,” captain Jon Morgan ’13 said. “This year we’ve got the fastest team I have ever seen.”

Though the Elis will have a break from competition until May 19 following their meet against Cornell and Princeton — a meet the Bulldogs have not won since 2010 — the squad is trying to not look past the event this weekend.

“It’s kind of one of those things where you don’t want to put a label on it and go, ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to beat them this weekend,’” coxswain Oliver Fletcher ’14 said. “We’ll just stick to our thing, do our deal and if it’s fast enough, it’s fast enough, and if it’s not, well we’ve got some time to figure it out.”

The Bulldogs will undergo intense workouts during their 21-day break following the meet this weekend, before tapering off in the days leading up to Eastern Sprints.

While the IRA National Championship meet is of course the most important meet of the year for the Elis, Fletcher noted that Eastern Sprints also figures to be a very competitive meet because many of the best crews in the country are found on the east coast.

“Most of the big rivals are on this coast, so it’s really a chance to go up against the big guns and see where we match up,” Fletcher said. “At the same time, the IRAs, the National Championship is really where are all the marbles are, so we want to try and peak for that.”

This stretch run will be a good test of a team that features many young athletes. Of the 36 athletes listed on the Yale athletics website, 14 are freshmen, and another seven are sophomores, bringing the total number of underclassmen to 21. The inexperience has not seemed to hurt the Elis’ success so far this spring, but the more intense meets left on the schedule will certainly force the team’s youth to prove itself.

On the flip side, however, these meets will mark the end of the Yale careers of six seniors. Although Yale College commencement occurs on May 20, the senior rowers will stay with the team through the Harvard regatta. Jon Morgan ’13, the captain, will graduate along with Tom Lynam ’13, Philippe Mastroyannis ’13, Harry Picone ’13, Grant Stegelmann ’13 and Ian Suvak ’13. Morgan said being in the team for the last four years was the most meaningful attempt to be engaged.

The heavyweight crew’s competition against Cornell and Princeton will begin this Saturday at 8 a.m.

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