April 15, 2002

Lightweight Crew Defeats Harvard, Penn for Matthews Cup

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The men’s lightweight crew turned heads this weekend as the varsity won all three of its races over Harvard and Penn. The team has not experienced a victory of this magnitude at the Matthews Cup in more than a decade. For the hardworking crew and coaches, however, the success was hardly shocking.

“We had confidence in the work we had done this winter. We put in a lot of solid work,” said senior captain Joe Kiely.

The performances of this weekend were typical of what coach Todd Kennett has come to expect from his men.

“They did what they could do. They didn’t surpass what they’ve been doing in practice,” Kennett explained.

The varsity boat smoked the competition, finishing almost six seconds ahead of Harvard. Cornell, benefiting from a small tailwind, crossed the line in an impressive 5:51.8.

“Even with the tailwind we felt like we surpassed our goals,” said Kiely.

The second varsity enjoyed an even larger margin of victory over its two rivals. They finished the 2000m course in 6:01.9, well ahead of Harvard (6:12.7) and Penn (6:23).

Racing a lone Penn boat, Cornell’s two fours led a tour de force as they sped past the Quakers to a one-two finish.

For everyone in attendance, the race was a testament to the power and the maturity of the men’s lightweight crew this year. Kennett hopes that the team will use future races to build upon the solid foundation they established this weekend.

“This is really a stepping stone leading into the rest of the season,” Kennett said.

The women faced rougher conditions, both figuratively and literally, at the Class of ’75 Cup in Boston on Saturday.

The varsity four was the only boat to come away with a win as the crews battled steadily worsening weather conditions at the end of the day. Overcoming perilous wind gusts and a boat full of water, the four fought its way to a first-place finish, beating four other crews with a time of 9:14.

“It was a difficult race because of the conditions, but we were ready for it because we had similar weather on Friday [in practice],” explained senior Cheryl Engelhardt. “It was exciting and fun, but it was a long race.”

The first varsity boat put up a serious fight but was edged out by Radcliffe in the final seconds of the race. The sprint pushed the crew to a finish of 7:45.6, with Cornell trailing with a time of 7:46.6.

The second varsity edged out Princeton but fell to Radcliffe, crossing the line in 7:37.5.

The first and second novice boats finished second and third in their respective races.

“I thought they did a pretty good job considering the conditions,” said women’s coach Melanie Onufrieff. “They know where they need to go to continue on into Sprints.”

Archived article by Meredith Long