The Yale men’s heavyweight and lightweight crews hit the ground running on their spring campaigns over the last week with promising performances.
The heavyweight team had a pair of close-run affairs at the San Diego Crew Classic last weekend, before beating Brown in the Albert Cup on Saturday. The lightweight crew started its season with a victory in the Johnson Cup the same day.
The heavyweight crew started its season off with a trip to California for the San Diego Crew Classic. Two teams were entered: one in the Copley Cup Invitational and one in the Sharp Memorial Cup. The Copley Cup crew first raced against Stanford, winning by a handsome 13.960 seconds. In the final, Yale came agonizingly close to winning and eventually placed second to UC Berkeley by 2.230 seconds, ahead of Northeastern, Stanford, Penn and Navy.
The Sharp Memorial Cup crew first raced in a preliminary group comprising of Navy, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State, winning by 16.950 seconds. In the six-crew final with UC Berkeley, Northeastern, Stanford, Penn and Navy, the Elis came in a respectable third, 8.770 off the winner, UC Berkeley.
“San Diego was a very good opening round,” head coach Steve Gladstone said. “Sunday’s races were extremely promising. Berkeley have been on the water all year. We’re working on a daily basis to reduce time over distance, to increase efficiency and to increase endurance and strength. We’ve won the Eastern Sprints three years in a row and were national champions last year, so we’re looking to maintain our overall excellence.”
The team then headed to Derby, Connecticut for the annual Albert Cup against Brown, on the Housatonic River. The Bulldogs successfully defended the trophy with ease, winning all five races.
The team is led by a core group of seniors, including captain Paul Jacquot, Sholto Carnegie, Kevin Kiernan, Cole Tilden and Bryan DeVries.
“In any successful team, the internal leadership of the seniors play a huge role,” Gladstone said. “I couldn’t be more pleased. The leadership of the squad has been the most important factor to the successes over the last four years.”
The heavyweight crew will next compete for the Olympic Axe Cup against Dartmouth at Derby, Connecticut next Saturday.
The lightweight crew started the spring season with the Johnson Cup against Navy at Lake Mercer, New Jersey. Starting the season against the Annapolis team that had lost a close tie against Princeton the week before, the Bulldogs fought to retain the Johnson Cup.
“This team really likes racing,” head coach Andrew Card said. “Now that racing season’s here, we get to do more of it, so everything is all right in Y150 world.”
Conditions proved to be an issue, with a stiff crosswind for the first 600 meters, which then turned into a quartering-to-full tailwind over the final 1,400 meters of the course. Gusts were ever present as well, reaching up to 16 miles per hour.
All races were decided by no more than four seconds. The first race consisted of the fourth varsity eight, where Navy established an early lead and fought well to hang on, crossing the line 6:04.1, as opposed to Yale’s 6:08.1. The Bulldogs and the Midshipmen then traded places in the third varsity eight race, where Yale came out on top 6:02.1 to 6:06.0. Navy won the second varsity eights race, winning by 3.2 seconds. In the final race of the day, Yale came back strong to finish ahead of Navy by a very tight 2.8-second margin. The Eli’s last-grasp win in the final race of the day meant that the series was tied 2–2 and confirmed Yale’s retaining of the Johnson Cup.
“The Johnson Cup was a classic EARC race,” Card said. “All four races had crews going full tilt all the way down the course. Impressive intensity for March, that’s for sure.”
The lightweight crew will next travel to Boston next weekend to compete for the Joy Cup against MIT and guest Georgetown.
Bill Gallagher | firstname.lastname@example.org