Yale entered this weekend already boasting the No. 1 heavyweight crew in the country. After a pair of clutch wins by the Yale lightweight crew on Saturday and Sunday, yet another Eli team will likely join the ranks of the nation’s best this week.
The Yale lightweight varsity eight, currently tied with Columbia for No. 2 in the nation in the USRowing poll, defeated Columbia and No. 6 Penn on Saturday before upsetting No. 1 Cornell at home by almost seven seconds on Sunday, continuing an undefeated spring season. Meanwhile, the Yale heavyweight crew won all four of its races against No. 12 Penn and No. 18 Columbia this weekend, and the No. 5 Yale women’s team won two of its four races. The Eli women lost the Eisenberg Cup against No. 9 Princeton and No. 11 USC, but the varsity four remains undefeated.
MAJOR VICTORIES FOR LIGHTWEIGHTS
In addition to the first varsity eight’s perfect weekend, all other Yale lightweight boats won their races on Saturday against Columbia and Penn before falling to Cornell the next day.
“The results are what they are,” head coach Andy Card said. “The crews executed up to their current capabilities at the moment in the two regattas, and it’s given the coaching staff valuable insight into how to proceed.”
The Bulldogs notched their first win of the day early in Philadelphia. After starting strong, the fourth varsity eight built on its lead en route to an 11-second victory. The next two races were more closely contested, but still dominant performances from the Elis. The third varsity eight was able to distance itself slightly more than one length from Columbia, which finished second, and ultimately posted a time of 5:54.0 on the 2,000-meter course. The second varsity eight also won with open water, earning a time of 5:47.2, compared to 5:54.5 for Columbia, which placed second.
The competition concluded with the first varsity eight race, which the Bulldogs won by a length over Columbia. Penn finished more than 30 seconds behind Yale.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs stayed at home to race Cornell, the defending national champion. The Big Red earned a commanding victory in the fourth varsity eight race, finishing 13.7 seconds clear of the Bulldogs. The third varsity eight race was closer, with Cornell crossing the finish line less than two seconds ahead. In the second varsity eight race, Yale gave up its early lead of a length and ultimately fell 5:44.46 to 5:41.99.
Yale, however, managed to earn its sole win of the day in the event’s most important race. The first varsity eight led from start to finish and ultimately won by almost seven seconds.
The lightweights will next travel to Hanover, New Hampshire on Saturday to race No. 9 Dartmouth for the Durand Cup.
WOMEN’S VARSITY EIGHT FALLS TO PRINCETON
The Yale women’s team had mixed results against Princeton and USC in New Jersey, losing the varsity eight Eisenberg Cup but winning two other races.
Princeton won the first varsity eight race by a length, while video-review concluded that Yale had tied USC for second with a time of 6:33.1. The Bulldogs fared better in the second varsity eight, emerging victorious with a time more than three seconds faster than the Tigers and 16 faster than the Trojans.
Yale lost the third varsity eight race by nine seconds before posting its biggest victory of the day, in the varsity four race. Yale won with open water, earning a time almost seven seconds faster than USC. With this additional win, the varsity four is still undefeated through six races in the spring season.
“Right now we are working in all boats to reach our top speed in the next three to four weeks,” captain Colleen Maher ’16 said. “This is an important time in our season, and every boat wants to make improvements, whether coming off of a loss or a win. The week-by-week results are just indications of where every team is in their development, and all we need to focus on is making our own boats go as fast as possible.”
The women will stay at home next weekend, set to race Radcliffe (Harvard) for the Case Cup.
The nation’s top-ranked heavyweight crew had a successful weekend, sweeping Columbia and Penn throughout every race in Philadelphia.
“Overall, the performance of the entire squad of boats was very pleasing,” captain Hubert Trzybinski ’16 said. “There was nothing that we really can complain about. Our coach said at the end that he [was] very proud and content with our performance.”
Yale’s third and fourth varsity eight competed in the same race against Columbia’s and Penn’s third varsity boats. Despite this abnormality, both boats still placed in front of the Lions and the Quakers, a testament to the depth of the Yale team. The third varsity came in first with a time of 5:40.4, and the fourth varsity came in second with a time of 5:49.2, two seconds faster than Penn.
The next race of the day was the second varsity eight, which was hotly contested down to the final meters. After beginning to pull away at the 600-meter mark, the Bulldogs withstood a late Quaker comeback to win by 1.9 seconds.
The first varsity boat raced next and emphatically earned the Blackwell Cup with a time of 5:26.9, compared to 5:43.4 for Penn and 5:45.1 for Columbia. The first varsity and second varsity boats remained undefeated this season.
Trzybinski said that the string of successes validated the team’s efforts, but added that the team has a tough weekend ahead and would not be overconfident.
Yale will seek to continue its success with races against No. 8 Cornell and No. 3 Princeton on Saturday for the Carnegie Cup.