Of all places, the collegiate crew season ends each year in New Jersey. That is where, this past June during the Intercollegiate Rowing Championships, the Cornell men’s heavyweight crew made a name for itself, finishing fourth in the varsity eight race behind the likes of California, Princeton and Northeastern — all whom have current Olympians on their teams.
“It was a great regatta for us,” head coach Dan Roock lauded, adding that the result was a monumental improvement from 2000 when the Red finished ninth. “I was expecting a sixth or a seventh.”
The varsity eight clocked 5:43.93. California claimed the victory in 5:34.62. Notably, the Red defeated Brown, which was fifth — a feat that it had not previously accomplished.
While the varsity eight may have received the glory, the heavyweights also placed well in other grand finals: the varsity pairs took second, the varsity fours with cox third, the varsity fours with cox fourth and the second varsity eights fifth.
“The result was a justification of the training we’ve done through the year,” Roock said.
Both the men’s lightweights and the women finished their seasons at the Eastern Sprints.
The lightweights, racing in Worcester, Mass., had their best finish come from its second varsity eight, which was third in its grand final behind Yale and Princeton. It was the first time a lightweight boat had medaled since 1995.
The first varsity eighth, though it took third
in the petite final, did manage to post a time that would have defeated the fifth place crew in the grand final.
“Obviously the varsity was disappointed, but with five sophomores [in the boat], I was pretty pleased,” head coach Todd Kennett said, alluding to his squad’s youth. “They learned a lot.”
The lightweights also had two other crews in grand finals, with the third varsity finishing sixth and the second freshmen taking fourth.
The women saw their novice eight boat complete an unblemished season by winning at Easterns. It’s time of 6:51.30 brought its record to 11-0 and earned the Red its first gold medal in its history.
“They did everything they were asked to,” said head coach Melanie Onufrieff.
In their three other grand finals, the women claimed fourth in the second varsity eight, fourth in the varsity fours and fifth in the second novice eight.
“It was a pretty good [Sprints] for the squad as a whole,” Onufrieff reflected.
Though the spring season is long since done, the crews can already sense the beginning of the upcoming fall one. Their first race comes in the middle of October at the Stonehurst Regatta in Rochester.
As Kennett aptly noted, “It’s a new ballgame.”
Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj