Jennifer Lu

In their first races of the fall season, all three of Yale’s crew teams dashed across their home water at the Head of the Housatonic with successful results on Saturday.

Each of the three squads came away from the weekend with multiple highlights and a number of reasons to look forward to the rest of their 2015–16 campaigns. The heavyweight team, which topped Harvard at the 150th iteration of the Harvard-Yale regatta in June, took first place in the varsity eights at the Housatonic for the third consecutive year. The women’s squad earned second place in the varsity eights and claimed the top five spots in the open pair. The lightweight team, competing in the same event as the heavyweights, finished third in the varsity eights and beat several heavyweight teams, including the University of Pennsylvania’s A boat.

HEAVYWEIGHTS CLAIM VARSITY EIGHT

Fresh off its 2014 Ivy Championship title, the Yale heavyweight team started the fall off with a strong debut performance.

The Bulldogs finished first in the varsity eights, an eight-person-per-boat race, at the Housatonic for the third year running. With a time of 13:00.3, the boat finished just under four seconds faster than last year’s winning performance and 24 seconds faster than the Bulldogs’ winning time in 2013. Brown’s heavyweight team finished second this year, with Yale’s second heavyweight boat finishing in fourth.

A ways behind the top two Yale boats were the Bulldogs’ third and fourth boats, which placed a distant 11th and 12th, respectively.

Elsewhere during the Yale-hosted regatta, the Bulldog heavyweight boats placed third and fourth in the event of fours, or four-person-per-boat races.

WOMEN TRIUMPH IN OPEN PAIR, FOURS

The women’s crew team began its season on a positive note as well, nearly sweeping the first-place results in each event on Saturday.

In the open pair, or two-person event, the team claimed each of the top five finishes. In first place was the D boat, raced by Kate O’Brien ’17 and Olivia MacLean ’17. They crossed the finish line with a time of 18:05.2 — slightly more than four seconds faster than the time of 18:09.9 Yale’s A boat achieved to finish in second place. The varsity eight boat was split into pairs which, according to team captain Colleen Maher ’16, were entered at random. Thus, the lettered labels of each grouping did not represent the level of the boat.

In the fours, or four-person event, the Bulldogs took each of the top three finishes.

The Bulldogs’ B boat, raced by Mieke Scherpbier ’16, Arwen Neski ’19, Emily Patton ’17 and Victoire Lienau ’19, coxed by Jessica Michels ’18, finished in first place with a final time of 16:33.9.

In the eight-person boat event, Brown’s boat finished in first, precluding a Yale sweep of the varsity eights, with a time of 14:35.1, more than 12 seconds faster than it took Yale’s A boat to finish.

The Yale women’s team, which finished in ninth place at the NCAA Championships back in May, considered the weekend a positive way to open the season. Still, Maher refused to rush to any conclusions for what might be in store for this year’s team.

“Saturday was a good start for our team, and it is always fun to open the fall season on our home course,” Maher said. “It’s our first result of the year, and there are many results still to come. We like to take them one at a time, not read too much into any single result and just train hard.”

LIGHTWEIGHTS EARN TOP-3 FINISH

The lightweight crew team, which usually competes in its own separate races, stroked against several heavyweight teams on Saturday.

Despite racing teams without a weight restriction in the varsity eights, the lightweight Elis placed their A boat third in the 16-boat field, ahead of every Yale heavyweight boat except one.

According to team captain Austin Velte ’16, the lightweights were less focused on the results of the competition and instead approached the event with one goal in mind: improvement.

“This was the first race of the year, so our goal was to set a good foundation to build on,” Velte said. “We want all of our boats to find more speed throughout the coming weeks and be able to compete at a high level. We are excited that our freshman had their first race for the Y150, and we look for them to continue to contribute to the team.”

The G and F boats, which served as the second and third lightweight boats, finished within two seconds of each other, placing ninth and 10th with times of 14:05.3 and 14:06.9, respectively.

In a short fall season that finishes up on Nov. 1 at the Princeton Chase, the lightweights, as well as the other two teams, will next compete Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Head of Charles race in Boston.