Donna Knight

Yale’s crew teams are eagerly anticipating this weekend’s races as they look to go undefeated for a second-straight week. The Eli boats are navigating the tricky middle parts of the season, looking to gain momentum as they approach the end-of-season championships.

Women’s

The No. 6 women’s heavyweight crew travels to Princeton to race against No. 4 Princeton and No. 11 Iowa, both of which have enjoyed impressive seasons thus far.

While Princeton perennially ranks in the upper echelons of the sport, and Iowa has reached its all-time highest national ranking, Yale has had an impressive season of its own. The Bulldogs started the spring with strong performances at the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invitational in Tennessee and the Big Ten-Ivy Double Dual, racing against national powerhouses such as Ohio State and Virginia. The feather-in-the-cap moment of the season so far came in last weekend’s 10 undefeated races at the inaugural Ivy Invitational against Dartmouth, Penn and Columbia.

“We are a good team but we are still a dog in most big races,” head coach Will Porter said. “We are not the favored team. Princeton is the defending champion. They are the team to beat, and until someone knocks them off, they are the favorite and we are the dog.”

The first varsity four kicks off the racing at 9 a.m.

Heavyweight

The heavyweight crew team is set to compete this Saturday for the Blackwell Cup against Columbia and Penn at Overpeck County Park in New Jersey.

The Bulldogs are in impressive form midway through the season and have continuously improved over the course of the spring. A respectable start to the season at the San Diego Crew Classic saw the first and second eight finish second and third in their respective races, both times falling to a battle-hardened UC Berkeley crew. The Elis have since gone undefeated, with no team losing a single race. Yale won all five races against Brown to win and defend the Albert Cup on the Housatonic River two weeks ago. The next Saturday saw the Bulldogs defend the Olympic Axe against Dartmouth on the same stretch of water, winning all four races.

Yale is looking to defend the Blackwell Cup after winning all three races on the Housatonic last year. Yale’s first eight claimed a significant victory on the day, crossing the finish line with a 5:35.30 time. Penn finished second with a time of 5:45.20 while Colombia recorded a time of 5:51.10. The Bulldogs’ second and third eights finished first by more than 10 and 14 seconds, respectively.

The third eight is set to hit the water first, at 9:30 a.m.

Lightweight

The lightweight crew is also set to travel to northeastern New Jersey to compete in the Dodge Cup with Columbia and Penn, and like the heavyweight team, it will also look to maintain significant momentum. The Elis are fresh off an undefeated weekend after successfully defending the Joy Cup against MIT and Georgetown in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The first eight finished ahead of the Engineers and Hoyas by more than seven seconds. The third eight won by an impressive 15.51 seconds, while the second eight went one better, crossing the line first by 18.52 seconds.

The team is looking to defend the Dodge Cup for the second consecutive year.

“Though there is always a little more time to get better, that time is not infinite,” head coach Andrew Card said. “We’ll use this race just like all the others. On one hand, [as] a terrific athletic contest in its own right … and on the other hand, as a pressured test to confirm our strengths and reveal our weaknesses for championship racing.”

The lightweight fourth eight commences racing at 9 a.m.

Bill Gallagher | william.gallagher@yale.edu