All three Cornell rowing teams are competing this weekend. Coming off of wins in every race in a matchup against Harvard and Penn, the men’s lightweight team is set to face Princeton on Saturday for the Platt Cup and Yale on Sunday. The women’s team won two of six races in the Class of 1975 Cup, but Princeton won overall. They are one of 20 teams competing at the Clemson Invitational on Saturday and Sunday in South Carolina. Meanwhile, after a weekend with no races, the men’s heavyweight team is racing on Saturday against Navy and Syracuse in Annapolis for the Goes Cup.
The women’s team did not come away from Cayuga Inlet with the Class of 1975 Cup. However, according to women’s head coach Liz Dennison, her entire team took steps forward last weekend against Harvard-Radcliffe and Princeton.
“All the Cornell crews raced hard and aggressively, and all the boats made progress from where we were over the previous race weekend,” Dennison said. “The 3V8 and C4 winning their races was great — especially with many of those athletes being younger and predominantly freshmen. That really speaks to the depth we have on our team right now.”
Dennison said that looking ahead to this weekend, Cornell will be facing ranked teams from different parts of the country.
“It is always exciting to see crews from all over the country, and teams we do not see on a regular basis,” she said. “I think the Ivy League is one of the fastest conferences in the country right now, and it will be great to see crossover with other conferences to get a measure of our speed outside of the league.”
According to Dennison, support from Cornell Rowing alumni has made going to South Carolina in the middle of the semester less of an ordeal.
“In the past, we have traveled to this race via bus,” she said. “Now we fly the student-athletes down for this race. That has made a huge difference in our ability to perform at a high level. The reduced travel time helps enormously with athletic performance and also academics.”
While the ultimate focus for Dennison is the Ivy League Championship in May, her team is not merely training through this weekend.
“Our goal is to go as fast as possible every weekend that we race, with the ultimate goal of having our best race at the Ivy Championships on May 5,” she said.
The heavyweight men’s team is preparing for a nonconference matchup steeped in history, according to head coach Todd Kennett ’91.
“The Goes Cup goes back forever,” he said. “There’s a lot of traditions at these places … I like to think it’s a friendly, fierce competition.”
According to Kennett, Navy and Syracuse are both potent rivals.
“Syracuse is sort of the dark horse,” he said. “They just went and rattled off a good race against [nationally ranked] Wisconsin in [Skokie, Ill.].”
Kennett pointed out that Naval Academy as an institution attracts rowers with a never-give-up attitude in races.
“Navy is always good,” he said. “They always pull hard, they never stop.”
The Red have been working on correcting some of the “big mistakes” they made two weeks ago against Harvard. Kennett said sicknesses and bad weather has dampened the opportunity the week off from competition could have offered. For example, with an exposed and potentially windy course this weekend, Kennett was hoping to have his team practice in Cayuga Lake proper more often.
“I would have liked to have used [the week off] more wisely,” Kennett said. “I was hoping to get some … good fundamentals [in].”
While he always wants his team to be faster, Kennett is happy with their effort. He is confident that the quality of his team as suggested by national polls will be validated this weekend.
“I think we stack up well,” Kennett said, stipulating, “We have to execute a really good race plan.”