Another weekend on the Housatonic, another successful set of races for the Yale crew teams: The No. 3 heavyweight, No. 1 lightweight and No. 8 women’s crews stroked to success on their home waters.
The heavyweight team won all four of its races against Columbia and Penn in the Blackwell Cup on Saturday. The lightweight squad had similar success, with all four of its top crews besting the Lions and Quakers in the Dodge Cup. Through the women’s Varsity Eight fell to Princeton in the Eisenburg Cup, the team showed off its depth by winning the other four races it competed in against the Tigers.
The No. 3 heavyweight crew hosted No. 10 Penn and No. 16 Columbia on Saturday morning in Derby. Conditions were overall nice, with a slight headwind that built throughout the morning. The Varsity Eight dominated in the 2000-meter race, finishing with a time of 5:35.3 to Penn’s 5:45.2 and Columbia’s 5:51.1 to ensure that the Blackwell Cup would stay with the Elis for the eighth consecutive year.
The second Varsity Eight enjoyed similar success, defeating Penn and Columbia by more than 10 seconds. The Bulldogs depth was on display, as the third and fourth boats won their races as well. With the Saturday sweep, Yale retained its undefeated record against Ivy League opponents in front of a large crowd on hand for Senior Day.
“It was an honor to be a part of such a long-standing tradition,” Garth Holden ’20 said. “Everything went according to plan and we are hungry to face the Tigers next weekend.”
The heavyweight crew races for the Carnegie Cup this weekend against No. 4 Princeton and No. 14 Cornell before vying for an Ivy League title at the Eastern Sprints on May 14.
The No. 1 lightweight crew continued its successful season against Ancient Eight opponents, crossing the finish line first in all of its races against No. 6 Penn and No. 7 Columbia.
The Varsity Eight won its close race with a time of 5:44.1, finishing an even two seconds ahead of the Quakers and more than five seconds ahead of the Lions. With the win, the Bulldogs retained the Dodge Cup for the 39th time in race history.
“Holding on to the Dodge Cup is a challenge, as the competition from Columbia and Penn is always stiff,” captain Noah Baily ’17 said. “To win it, though, is good stepping stone for us to measure our performance and seek improvement as we move into the latter half of our dual-racing season.”
The second Varsity Eight won more comfortably than Yale’s top boat, finishing about five seconds ahead of Columbia and more than seven seconds ahead of Penn. The third Varsity Eight also crossed the finish line first, though the Bulldog boat was disqualified for steering out of its lane, and the Elis’ fourth crew bested Penn by more than 20 seconds.
“I’m very proud of the team, and especially the depth we have displayed,” Baily said. “We’ve worked hard to get to this point and we’re going to keep working hard for when it really counts in championship races down the line.”
Yale’s next race comes this weekend in the Durand Cup against Dartmouth, which the Bulldogs have swept every year since 2012.
No. 8 Yale hosted No. 6 Princeton on Saturday, winning four out of their five races at Gilder Boathouse. However, the Tigers won the most important race of the day, holding onto the Eisenburg Cup by winning a tightly contested Varsity Eight race. The Bulldogs’ second Varsity Eight came out on top in a similarly close race, finishing with a time of 6:14.4 to the Tigers’ 6:16.0. The win ensured Yale’s second boat remained undefeated on the season, and handed Princeton’s second crew its first loss of 2017.
The Varsity Four featured two more unbeaten crews, with Yale again prevailing over the Orange and Black by a two-second margin. The Bulldogs’ second Varsity Four and third Varsity Eight won their races as well, avenging Yale’s 2–2 split against the Tigers last year.
The Elis will likely have two shots at redemption against the Tigers, as the two teams will race against each other at the Ivy League Championships on May 14, and in all likelihood at the NCAA championship on May 28.
“Yesterday was a great step forward for [our] racing as all of our boats saw some very tight races and overall — we were 1.2 seconds away from a sweep,” Kate O’Brien ’17 said. “We are only halfway through our racing season right now, and it is exciting to see so much depth in our team.”
Yale races next against No 15 Harvard’s Radcliffe crew and No. 13 Southern California in Cambridge.