March 30, 2004

W. Crew Defeats Stanford at Windermere Classic

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The women’s crew team crossed the continent to compete in the Windermere Classic on March 27-28, and the trip proved to be a valuable experience for the team.

The Windermere Classic is an annual event hosted by Stanford in which 15 teams from across the nation race over two days in Henley-style competition. Teams race one-on-one in the event, also called a dual race.

The Red put a first and second varsity eight on the water, and raced Washington State, California, Michigan, and host Stanford over the two days.

“There’s good competition on both coasts,” said head coach Melanie Onufrieff. “We faced the best out there. California in particular is the fastest.”

“It was really great to go out West and see the competition there,” senior commodore Amelia Siani said. “The level of competition is not much higher than what we race in our season, but now we can train harder on the East Coast in anticipation of seeing them again at national championships.”

Both Cornell boats faced Washington State in the first round of competition. In the first race, Cornell’s varsity eight put forth a solid effort but trailed the Cougars by five seconds at the finish line. In the next dual, the Red’s number-two boat closed to within three seconds of the Washington State team, but still suffered a loss in the end.

“Losing was educational,” said Siani. “We’ll know what to expect when we face them the next time.”

Next up for the first varsity eight was California. Despite a solid effort, the Bears proved too strong for the Red, crossing the line a comfortable ten seconds ahead of Cornell. The second varsity faced off against Michigan and didn’t fare much better, trailing by 14 seconds.

“We saw here some things to work on,” said Onufrieff. “Trying to win isn’t always the way to make the boat go faster.”

The Red regrouped overnight and came out on the water strong against Stanford the next morning. The first varsity eight pulled to a 6:45.90 finish, just ahead of the Cardinal’s time of 6:50.25. The second varsity eight pulled to a another victory for the Red, crossing the line 11 seconds ahead of Stanford’s second boat.

When asked what made the difference between the Red’s first day of competition and its second, Onufrieff said, “Attitude, the way we approached the race, and the way we made the boat go.” “The team did a great job,” said Siani. “We defeated Stanford, who was the fifth ranked crew in the nation.”

“It was good, really good, to get three races in and learn and improve,” Onufrieff said of the trip. “They understand where their strengths and weaknesses are, and they learned about what they have and where to work.”

The Red will be back in action next weekend with races against Syracuse and Yale. “We still have a lot of work to go over, more speed to find.” Siani said. ” The lineups are pretty new. We have more depth to find in terms of speed and finding our stroke together. We also have to refine our starts and sprints.”

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer