The men’s heavyweight rowing team is geared up to compete with Princeton and Yale in the Carnegie Cup this weekend in Ithaca. The Carnegie Cup varsity races — described by head coach Todd Kennett ’91 as one of the oldest races in which the Red competes — were started by Andrew Carnegie’s wife.
Both Kennett and senior co-captain Jim Voter have high expectations for the race. According to Voter, alhough Princeton and Yale are two of the top teams in the league, the Red can compete in terms of ranking and ability.
“We’re anticipating a really close race,” Voter said.
According to Kennett, the Red has some rowers who are very strong and some who are really adept in the boat. The Red has long-term plans for increasing boat speed, which include focusing on individual improvements.
“Everyone’s going to have to do what they’re good at really well and attack their weaknesses,” he said. “We’re capable of producing some good boat speed.”
Kennett said that the cup this weekend would be a good measurement for the future.
“If we do well, we can say okay, this is a great performance,” Kennett said. “If not, we’ve got to go back to the blackboard and change what we’re doing to find the speed to win the league. I’m happy with the work the guys have been doing, and it’s important we have a maximal effort because it’s our last race for three weeks.”
The Red is coming off some success from last weekend against Syracuse and the Naval Academy. According to Voter, the team came in second place to the Naval Academy by just a few feet.
Kennett said that it was a pretty tough race and that the Red had raced against the Naval academy for three consecutive weekends now.
According to Kennett, the team has been thinking of scenarios and potential courses to maximize its boat speed.
“In rowing you have very little contact with the other boat,” Kennett said. “As long as you keep your focus in it, that’s what it’s about. It’s about how much boat speed you can create.”
According to Voter, the race should attract a decent crowd, especially since the Boatyard Grill will be open for breakfast during the races.
“It’s more than just being a good race against two of our rivals in the Ivy League,” Voter said. “It’s also a home race for us, and for the four seniors in the boat, it’s their last home racing during their time here. It’s a chance to bring a win in front of our home fans, and we’re going in with a little bit of a mental edge in that aspect as we hope to bring home the Carnegie Cup for Cornell.
The Red lightweight rowing team will also be competing this weekend against MIT and Columbia in the Geiger Cup. The race, which will take place in Cambridge, Mass., has been in place for over 50 years, according to head coach Chris Kerber.
“It’s pretty much been the same for over 50 years, and that’s pretty exciting,” he said. “Its pretty exciting for myself in my fourth season and it’s pretty exciting for the guys to race people they may know.”
Kerber’s expectations for the races this weekend, similar to those of last weekend’s races, include plans for team improvement.
“We’re looking to get better on the water, optimize our race plan, and even hone our skills, and that’s happening on a week-by-week basis,” Kerber said. “Each week is concluded by one of these races. We take each week at a time.”
According to Kerber, the Red will be battling a headwind on the Charles River. A headwind spreads out the competition and could therefore effect the results. He said that the Red has adjusted race plans accordingly.
“We’re racing some crews that are highly ranked in our league,” Kerber said. “That also helps us adjust and modify to have focuses down on the course.”
This year’s lightweight team is led by a very strong senior class and an advanced sophomore class, which creates a competitive environment. According to Kerber, the challenges provided from the younger team members really push the older members.
In a similarly structured competition last Saturday against Princeton and Yale, the Red performed very well. In the morning, it crushed Princeton, but was defeated in the afternoon by Yale.
“Each one of these times down the course is an opportunity for us to put forth our best and then kind of study it and analyze it and make it better each week,” Kerber said.