On Saturday, Yale women’s crew faced off against two other top 10 teams in the nation but struggled to keep up with the competition. The No. 9 Elis were edged by both No. 3 University of Michigan and No. 10 Ohio State on the Scioto River at Griggs Reservoir in Columbus, Ohio.
The Buckeyes took all five races against the Bulldogs, while the Wolverines captured four out of five races in the second matchup. The Elis’ lone win came in the varsity four race against Michigan.
They were the first losses for the Yale team this spring, as the team had opened the season by sweeping Ivy League rivals Columbia and Penn last weekend.
“This weekend we had the worst losses our program has had since 2006,” head coach Will Porter said. “I think as a program we have a big challenge before us to see if we can pull things together and find a combination that works moving forward.”
Because the competition was structured as a double dual meet, each crew raced twice, first against Ohio State and then against Michigan. Porter said the format is much more common on the West Coast and in the Midwest than in the Northeast but added that the structure did not change the way boats approached races.
The Buckeyes were not unfamiliar foes for the Bulldogs, as Ohio State traveled to the Gilder Boathouse to take on the Elis last year. Though the Elis finished ahead of three out of four of Ohio State’s boats in last season’s matchup, this year the Buckeyes swept the Bulldogs.
In the first race of the day, Ohio State’s varsity eight took an early lead over the Elis and never relinquished it. The Buckeyes crossed the line at 6:23.66, besting Yale, which finished in 6:32.38.
The second varsity eight race followed a similar script with the Buckeyes opening up an early lead that held up for the entire race. Ohio State’s boat finished in 6:25.25, while Yale clocked in at 6:34.66.
“We are disappointed with our performance and did not rise to the challenge,” captain Kathleen O’Keefe ’12 said. “Across the board, our boats were unhappy with our results.”
The Buckeyes’ varsity four also glided into the win column with a 7:11.43 mark, finishing nearly six seconds ahead of the Bulldogs.
Ohio State completed the sweep of Yale by capturing the second varsity four and the novice eight races.
The Elis took to the water to face Michigan in the second session, falling in all but one race.
The lone bright spot of the day came from Yale’s varsity four, who crossed the line at 7:20.10, which was more than four seconds ahead of Michigan.
“They started off behind, and they were just very determined to get ahead,” Porter said. “They raced until they got their nose out in front. They did a great job showing their competitive spirit.”
In the varsity eight race, the Wolverines bested the Bulldogs 6:16.70 to 6:28.92. Similarly, Michigan’s second varsity eight rowed to an eight second victory by clocking in at 6:25.62.
Yale’s second varsity four and novice eight also suffered defeats at the hands of the Wolverines.
Despite the losses, O’Keefe and Porter both said racing against two nationally ranked teams was beneficial because it allowed the team to see how much improvement is necessary in the coming weeks.
“I think Michigan is the standard right now,” Porter said. “If they’re not the fastest crew in the country, they are in the top three, and that’s how much work we have to do as a team. It’s doable, but we’ve got to find a combination that works. We’re not there yet.”
The Bulldogs return to action this weekend when they host Cornell and Dartmouth at the Gilder Boathouse in Derby, Conn., on Saturday.