Yale Athletics

The No. 6 Yale men’s lightweight crew team secured a pair of dominant victories over No. 8 Dartmouth to defend the Durand Cup this past Saturday, while the ninth-ranked women’s squad snagged second in every event against No. 4 Texas and No. 7 Princeton. The No. 1 men’s heavyweight team handled business as usual, smashing both No. 11 Penn and No. 16 Columbia and obtaining the Blackwell Cup in the process.

This weekend saw yet another ensemble of excellent exhibitions from the Elis. The lightweights demolished the Big Green by sizeable margins in both races, while the women’s squad finished extremely close to the first-place team in every match, ultimately falling to Princeton in the Eisenberg Cup. The heavyweights dealt with their Ivy foes in a nonchalant manner, casually claiming the Blackwell Cup over Penn and Columbia.

Men’s lightweight managed to deal with a slew of setbacks to emerge victorious from Saturday’s Durand Cup match. Due to potential thunderstorms, the first varsity eight and second varsity eight races were moved earlier in the day. The contest itself was the last time the senior class of lightweight rowers represented Yale on the Housatonic, and six seniors saw time on the water.

“We’re used to rowing in bad weather; we enjoy it actually,” lightweight crew head coach Andy Card said. “This past weekend, the concern was for lightning, so we went earlier in the day to avoid getting zapped, but only by about 45 minutes, so it was all in a morning’s work.”

The stormy weather subdued the top ten Big Green, and Yale capitalized. The Yale first varsity eight completely clobbered the other crew, as the Bulldogs breezed by with a 13.51 second victory margin. The Blues went on to blast past the second varsity eight unit of Dartmouth by a sizeable 13.88 second margin. Buoyed by the strength of its 13-man senior class, the Elis ultimately decimated Dartmouth to defend the Durand Cup.

Women’s crew continued its steady season with a series of second place finishes this past weekend against a pair of elite teams — Texas and Princeton. The Eli rowers battled through rain and high-speed wind, and winds blew at 14 miles per hour with a few 30 miles per hour gusts.

“We raced well as an NCAA team,” women’s crew head coach Will Porter said. “Princeton and Texas both have fast 1V eights, and we were able to hang in there with them. As I have said all year, this team is young and is growing up on the race course every weekend. That’s what happened Saturday. Being able to push ourselves against some of the fastest teams in the country has been the objective of our schedule this year.”

The Blues began the day as underdogs against their higher ranked opponents, but Yale rendered the rankings obsolete. While the Elis did not clinch a victory in any of the five races of the day, the Bulldogs managed to place second in every matchup.

In the first varsity eight contest, the Tigers passed the Bulldogs and  the Longhorns by a hair. Princeton won the event by just 2.8 seconds, and the Tigers took home the Eisenberg Cup, an award given annually to the victor of the women’s first varsity eight matchups between Princeton and Yale.

In the day’s largest margin of victory, Texas edged out Yale by five seconds in the second varsity eight contest. The varsity four saw Texas topple the Elis yet again by a slim 1.3 seconds, while Princeton prevailed by 3.9 seconds in the battle of the third varsity eights. In the last event of the meet — the second varsity fours — the Longhorns led the pack and once more garnered victory by 2.7 seconds.

The heavyweights conquered Columbia and Penn in their own three-way battle for the Blackwell Cup on Saturday on Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania. All of the heavyweight squads remain undefeated on the season, and only one cup race remains on the schedule. The teams had to navigate winds ranging from 11 to 15 miles an hour, a moderate current, choppy water and a few whitecaps. Still, Yale prevailed in the adverse conditions.

In the first varsity eights contest, the Blues walloped their competitors to clinch the grand prize of the Blackwell Cup. The heavyweights earned a staggering 16.5 second margin of victory over the second-place Quakers and kept this season’s perfect record intact. The second varsity eights squared off as well, and the Elis again ended the race as victors. This time, Yale managed a considerable 11.8 second margin of victory over Columbia, giving the Bulldogs an average margin of victory of 14.15 seconds.

“Staying in line with the excellence of Yale, our athletes are challenged in the classroom and going one step further than the average Yale student,” Porter said. “They are challenging themselves physically every day. We seek excellence in mind, body and spirit. We are figuring it out and finding our late season speed. Here we go.”

The heavyweights are preparing to defend the Carnegie Cup against No. 7 Princeton and No. 11 Cornell this Saturday in their last home race of the season, while the women’s squad gets ready to take on No. 15 Radcliffe-Harvard and Northeastern on the Charles River in Boston. Men’s lightweight will challenge No. 4 Harvard and No. 2 Princeton for the Goldthwait and Vogel Cups in Princeton, N.J. on the same day.

Bentley Long | bentley.long@yale.edu