No. 4 men’s lightweight dominated No. 8 Georgetown in all races during the Elis’ first home competition of the season in Derby, Connecticut on Saturday. On the opposite side of the country, the No. 1-ranked men’s heavyweight squad emerged unilaterally victorious against several elite west coast squads at the San Diego Crew Classic. Meanwhile, the ninth-ranked Yale women’s crew team toppled two out of three of its opponents at the Ivy League Invitational this past Sunday.
“I was very pleased with our first varsity eight and was extremely impressed with our second varsity eight race,” heavyweight crew head coach Steve Gladstone said. “It’s the first time a Yale second varsity has beaten a [Cal-Berkeley] second varsity in some time, and the way they did it – being down a full length at one point yet still coming back – was pleasing to see.”
In its first home race of the season, lightweight crew handled the Hoyas on the Housatonic with ease, winning all three races. In San Diego, the heavyweight squad continued to race well, winning both the Sharp Memorial and Copley Cups. Following a surprise upset at the hands of No. 6 Michigan last weekend, Yale women’s crew rebounded strongly with four victories against the Penn and Columbia pairing, but the team suffered defeats in three out of four matchups against No. 8 Brown.
Men’s lightweight crew continued its excellent start to the spring season. Following a complete sweep of the fifth-ranked Naval Academy in last week’s battle for the Eads Johnson Cup, Yale came into this weekend with high expectations, and the Blues delivered. Georgetown, coming off of relatively successful outings against Delaware and No. 1 Princeton, entered the weekend raring for additional success. But the Blues decimated the Hoyas on Saturday — the closest margin between the two teams was 6.8 seconds in the first varsity eight matchups.
“There’s no doubt that we like racing at home,” lightweight crew head coach Andy Card said. “What most people don’t realize is that our course only goes in a few days before we race on it, so for our home opener against Georgetown, our coxswains had only as much time on the course to practice as the visiting Georgetown coxswains.”
The heavyweight unit headed west to race against No. 4 California, Santa Clara, UC Davis, San Diego, Boston College, Orange Coast and UC Santa Barbara. Saturday featured a prime matchup between Yale and California. The first varsity units prepared for the Copley Cup in a time trial to determine the lanes for Sunday’s race.
The second varsity eights then demolished Santa Clara, UC Davis, San Diego and UC Santa Barbara in a heat that advanced the Elis to the finals of the Sharp Memorial Cup. The next fastest time after Yale’s 6:05.329 seconds was Santa Clara’s 6:22.113 — a whopping margin of victory of 16.784 seconds.
Sunday started with a bang for the heavyweights. The second varsity eight blues competed in an early 9:28 a.m. start for the Sharp Memorial Cup. Yale, who began in the first lane, went on to win the event against Cal, Santa Clara, UC San Diego, Boston College, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Orange Coast. The Bulldogs and Golden Bears finished substantially ahead of the rest of the pack, coming in at least 25 seconds faster than all other opponents, while Yale edged Cal by a 2.87-second margin.
A little over an hour later, the first varsity eights of Yale and Cal duked it out for the Copley Cup. But Cal, the reigning Cup champions, faltered, and the Blues prevailed by a seven-second margin.
“Winning the cup is not really the most important part,” Gladstone said. “What’s important is a really strong race, and we did that this weekend.”
Finally, the women’s crew team rallied for a strong performance in the Ivy League Invitational at Carnegie Lake. Just a week after losing to then-lower ranked Michigan, the Bulldogs first challenged Brown bright and early on Saturday morning in a top-ten matchup. Yale claimed victory in the second varsity four matchups, but Brown triumphed in the remaining races.
Later on in the afternoon, the Bulldogs went about business as usual and obliterated Penn and Columbia. Motivated by their earlier defeats, the Elis eagerly engaged with their other Ivy opponents. The closest margin of victory for Yale was 9.5 seconds in the first varsity eight race while the average margin of victory over the series was 13.9 seconds.
“We take it week to week,” Card said. “Right now it’s all about racing in [this weekend’s upcoming meet in] Philadelphia against Columbia and Penn. Cliché, I know, but it’s really the only way to do things. Full attention to this week’s task is good practice for when this week’s attention is a championship week.”
Women’s crew crosses paths with Cornell on the Housatonic River next Saturday, while men’s heavyweight will race on the same waters to defend the Olympic Axe against No. 9 Dartmouth, marking a busy weekend for Gilder Boathouse. Men’s lightweight also travels to tango with Penn and Columbia for the Dodge Cup in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Bentley Long | firstname.lastname@example.org