The lightweight crew team handed MIT and Boston College a beating to sweep the Joy Cup Saturday in Cambridge, Mass.

“There’s a lot of optimism floating around the boathouse,” Jordan Winick ’07 said.

Racing with a moderate 10-15 mph headwind and a slight chop on the Charles River, the Yale first Varsity Eight finished in a time of 6:39.2, beating MIT by nearly 20 seconds. The Elis’ second Varsity Eight finished in a time of 6:46.8 to MIT’s 7:17.7, and the Frosh/Novice Eight sped past MIT with a time of 7:48.7.

The Frosh/Novice Eight boat benefited from a strong performance from Komli-Kofi Atsina ’06. Though a sophomore, Atsina is racing in the Frosh/Novice boat after walking on this winter.

“[Atsina] added a lot of power to the boat and helped them along to a convincing win,” Evan Gibson ’04 said.

In the second Frosh 4+ race, Yale beat out MIT with a time of 8:13.7 to BC’s 8:51.9 and MIT’s 9:37.9.

“Everyone felt that we had a great personal performance against MIT,” Brendon Hill ’05 said. “We spent the week of training really focusing on getting some good power during the stroke. It paid off in the race — we all felt in control while putting out a high level of energy.”

The Joy Cup was a big victory for the Elis after last week’s loss to Navy. On April 3, the lightweights finished just over six seconds behind Navy’s 5:53.3 at Mercer Lake at the Inaugural Johnson Cup Competition. But in the JV race, Yale’s 6:05.0 finish trumped Navy’s 6:07.6.

The Johnson Cup is named after Yale grad Yves Johnson ’34, a naval officer during World War II.

The lightweights pushed hard in last week’s practice to outdistance MIT and BC and make up for the loss to Navy.

“These are important wins to get under our belt,” said Winick.

The lightweight crew team will race the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia in Philadelphia, Pa. on April 17. Gearing up for this weekend, Gibson said the team is hoping for another big win.

“We’re turning our focus to Penn and Columbia and trying to squeeze as much speed out of our race plan as possible,” Gibson said.

With only three more head-to-head races left in the season — including the Havard-Yale-Princeton race on May 1 at Princeton — the team is gearing up for the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Sprints on May 15-16 and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta in Camden, N.J. on May 27.

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