October 21, 2003

Crews Suffer Setback at Head of Charles Race

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The Cornell rowing teams showed great promise this past weekend as they competed in the world’s largest two-day rowing event — the Head of the Charles Regatta — in Boston, Mass.

For its 39th year, the Head of the Charles Regatta brought world champions, international teams, and collegiate athletes together to compete in a three-mile race up the Charles River.

The Red fielded both an eight-man boat and a four-man boat in the men’s heavyweight division. Both teams finished well, with the eight-man boat coming in 14th in a field of 41 boats and the four-man boat finishing 13th out of 27 boats. However, the team had mixed feelings about the results.

“They are decent results that show we are in the thick of things,” heavyweight head coach Dan Roock said. “With exceptions to two [teams]; Harvard and Princeton. It was disappointing to see how far behind we are, but we are very close to others we compete against.”

The feelings of disappointment were heightened by the fact that both teams narrowly missed qualifying for next year’s race. In order to qualify, a boat must finish within five percent of the best time. For the eight-man boat, which finished at 5.21 percent, the gap was a matter of two seconds. Boats that fail to qualify are entered into a lottery to gain entry for next year’s competition.

The results for the two lightweight boats were very encouraging. The Red’s eight-man boat finished eighth out of 24 entrants. The four-man team finished seventh out of 18 boats. The four-man boat was the second college boat overall in its race. At a competition that mixes world champions, international contenders and collegiate athletes all in one race, this showing proves the Red can compete at all levels.

“It proved to us we’re capable of running with everyone,” said lightweight head coach Todd Kennett. “We’re within easy contact of everyone else.”

The women’s team had more mixed emotions about its showing over the weekend. The Red’s eight-woman boat was the 20th across the line in a field of 40.

“We were hoping to do better,” said senior Elisabeth Beaber. “We’re really excited for the race next weekend.”

All three teams continue to look ahead to this week’s training and long-term plans for the winter season.

“At Princeton, we’ll have a chance to test our skills,” said Roock of the heavyweight men. “[We’ll] see if we can close the gap in a week’s time.”

“We’ll be fine-tuning in the boat,” Kennett said of the plans for the lightweight team’s upcoming week. But he expects greater improvement over the winter season. “We’ll get more experience. We’ll be able to push the boat to the red line.”

The women’s team has a similar game plan for the winter.

“We’ll work to improve and increase strength,” said Beaber. “It’ll pay off in the spring when we get back on the water.”

Next weekend all three teams will head to New Jersey for the Princeton Chase. After a week of hard work, the Red feels it should be ready for another shot at the competition.

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer

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