One competitor would be enough for most teams to face in a single day. But the men’s lightweight crew team took on three rivals in two races on Saturday.
The Elis won a morning doubleheader against Penn and Columbia in Mercer County, N.J., last Saturday before defeating Cornell later that afternoon. Yale’s varsity eight beat the Lions to take the Dodge Cup by two and one-half seconds, with the Quakers a further six seconds back. Just seven hours later, the Bulldogs won their fourth race of the season over the Big Red by a margin of over three seconds.
Although the Elis said they were pleased with their three wins, varsity boat member Trevor Young ’06 said they are continually aware of the strength of every team in the league.
“We weren’t surprised by any of the results, but you can never expect a thing in this league,” he said. “A single misstep can cost you a race.”
The Bulldogs have not had any missteps so far this season, defeating 2004 national champion Navy two weeks ago in their spring opener. Yale has only lost the Dodge Cup twice since 1978, and this weekend showed a varsity eight that is prepared for tough competition.
Yale’s junior varsity and freshman boats also performed well against the three Ivy foes. The Elis’ second and third varsity boats finished four seconds apart to defeat both Penn and Columbia, but Cornell’s second varsity won in the afternoon race. In the novice eight, the Bulldogs prevailed against the Quakers and the Lions but lost by just six-tenths of a second to the Big Red.
Captain Joe Fallon ’06 said having two races on the same day was good preparation for all crews because of the heat format of the Eastern Sprints near the end of the season.
“The races this week showed that we have a deep team and are moving in the right direction each week,” he said. “All of our boats have a lot of things to work out before the championship races.”
Next weekend, Yale will face Dartmouth and Rutgers on Saturday in the Durand Cup on the Raritan River, which the Elis have not lost for the past eleven years. The following morning, the lightweights have their first regatta at home against Georgetown.
The Big Green has already broken one important losing streak this year, defeating Harvard on April 15 for the first time since 2002 in a race that they have only won three times in 57 years. Yale head coach Andy Card said the win is huge for new Dartmouth coach Steve Perry, who rowed and coached at Rutgers.
“I am sure he knows the Raritan [River] well and will have his guys ready to race on Saturday,” he said. “We hope that study and concentration can help us overcome our unfamiliarity with the race course.”
Card said the Raritan River site is one of the more difficult ones to master for visiting coxswains, and the coaches of both the Big Green and the Scarlet Knights have more experience with it.
“In our league, things are so tight I am ready for any result, good or ill,” he said. “We haven’t raced a slow crew yet.”