The Yale men’s lightweight crew team opened its season with a victory against Navy, while the women’s team triumphed over Ivy opponents Penn and Columbia at home this weekend.
The lightweight team headed south to Princeton and bested the United States Naval Academy in three of four races on Lake Carnegie to reclaim the Johnson Cup. The Eli women retained the Connell Cup with five wins, sweeping the Quakers and Lions.
“Each boat learned a lot through this race. And I am excited to see the team progress from here,” said lightweight captain Matt O’Donoghue ’14.
The coxswains, Ilana Usiskin ’14, Eli Block ’16, Ashley Wu ’17 and Emily Baczyk ’17, deserve credit for steering through tough weather conditions, O’Donoghue added. The boats braved rain and cross-headwinds.
The four men’s boats had tight races. The first varsity eight finished in six minutes, 20 seconds, beating out the Navy boat by just under five seconds. The second varsity and first freshman boats edged ahead in even closer face-offs, winning by three and two seconds, respectively.
The only lightweight boat to fall to Navy was the third varsity eight, which finished in seven minutes, 10 seconds, 22 seconds behind the opposing third, and 15 seconds behind Navy’s fourth.
“[This weekend] was our first chance to test ourselves in a cup race, and the team did well,” O’Donoghue said.
The women’s crews saw wider margins of victory on the Housatonic against Penn and Columbia, with the third varsity eight finishing just under seven seconds before its opponents in the closest race.
The first varsity eight pulled a 6:12 on the 2000-meter course and finished seven seconds before Penn and nine seconds before Columbia.
“Our team performed well at our first home race of the season,” said women’s captain Maddie Lips ’14. “It was particularly great to see our freshmen stepping up and racing hard in their first home race.”
The women’s first varsity four was comprised entirely of freshman rowers, with Emily Patton ’17, Olivia Maclean ’17, Kate O’Brien ’17 and Schuyler Ritchie ’17, from the bow. In addition, freshman Lydia Keating ’17 sat in the second eight, Casey Wizner ’17 and Caroline Hart ’17 rowed in the second four and Sara Locke ’17 and Jackie Cloud ’17 both pulled in the third eight.
According to Lips and women’s head coach Will Porter, the team sees room for improvement despite Saturday’s success.
“We’ll definitely be building on our success and learning from what we could have done better as we look forward to racing Cornell,” Lips said.
Next weekend, the lightweights will take on Georgetown and the women will face the Big Red. Both races will be at home.