Dispersed throughout New England, Yale’s three crew teams managed to bring hardware back to New Haven after the women and heavyweights found success against Dartmouth. The lightweights, who took on three Ancient Eight foes in two days, were unable to come away with a win.
WOMEN FLY PAST DARTMOUTH AND BU
The No. 9 Yale women’s crew team headed north to race Dartmouth and Boston University on the Charles River Saturday morning.
Despite some choppy water due to high winds, the Bulldogs dominated. All five boats won their respective races, and all of the margins of victory exceeded 20 seconds.
“We did a good job of staying focused on the task at hand and not letting conditions distract us,” captain Nina Demmerle ’15 said, adding that despite the chop, the Elis approached the race as they would any other.
Clocking in at 7:12.80, the first varsity eight finished 25 seconds ahead of the second-place Terriers. The second and third varsity eights were 21 and 23 seconds faster, respectively, though it was the fourth varsity boats that clocked the most impressive finishes.
The fourth varsity A boat passed the finish line 48 seconds before the next competitor, and the B boat had a solid 55 seconds to kill before the next boat completed the race.
“We are always making changes throughout the season, but the times are a reflection of getting more comfortable on the water as we get further into the season,” Demmerle said.
This week, the Bulldogs can look forward to racing on their home course, as they compete on the Housatonic for the first and penultimate time this season.
Welcoming No. 8 Princeton, last season’s surprise Ivy League Champions, the women have an excellent chance to compare themselves to one of their strongest competitors. The other team to watch out for, No. 2 Brown, will be coming to Derby, Conn. on April 27.
Though Demmerle said the team is excited to get to race at home, she added that they are preparing for this weekend like any other week. Despite the strength of the competition, Demmerle said, Yale will not be projecting this week’s races ahead to the Ivy League and NCAA postseason races.
“Every time we line up against another team, regardless of the team, we focus on going as fast as we can between the start line and finish line,” she said. “As a team, in every boat, we have done a good job of staying internal during races to do this.”
MEN’S HEAVYWEIGHT WINS, LIGHTWEIGHTS FALL
After a week off, the heavyweights returned in full force to defeat Dartmouth and earn the Olympic Axe for the 12th consecutive year.
Yale has won the Axe every year since the series’s conception in 2004, and this year saw the Elis take four of the five races.
The first varsity eight finished almost seven seconds ahead of the Big Green, the team’s largest margin of the day. The second varsity won by five seconds, and the third varsity snuck out in front to take the race by 1.6 seconds. The fourth varsity was the only boat to finish second, as it was sandwiched between Dartmouth’s fourth and fifth boats, though it finished only 1.3 seconds behind the former.
Members of the heavyweight team could not be reached for comment.
Traveling from Overpeck Park, New Jersey, to Ithaca, New York, the lightweight team traversed over 220 miles to race 2,000 meters. Well into their Ivy League season, the lightweights lined up against inter-conference foes Columbia and Penn the first day and Cornell the second.
Facing 10 to 15 mile per hour headwinds, the Elis’ first and second varsity boats finished second to Columbia by the smallest of margins: three seconds for the first boat and two for the second. The third varsity boat’s win was the Bulldogs’ only top finish on the day.
“The conditions at Overpeck Park were a challenge, but one all crews had to deal with,” captain Matt Cecil ’15 said. “We were just happy to have another chance to test ourselves against some fast crews regardless of the conditions.”
Sunday featured better conditions but similar results. Cornell’s first varsity came back after a strong Yale start and eventually finished eight seconds ahead of the Bulldogs. The second and third varsity boats lost by six and 3.9 seconds, respectively.
Despite the back-to-back second place finishes, the Bulldogs took positives from their performance.
“Our takeaway, win or loss, is to keep improving and focus on our next opponent,” Cecil said.
The lightweights have the opportunity to race twice more — both times at home — before heading to Eastern and IRA Sprints, the equivalent of postseason races.