The Red’s lightweight and women’s rowing teams had a challenging weekend, as both faced tough competition on Cayuga Lake and ended the day with three hard-earned victories.
The men’s lightweight squad went up against Penn and Harvard. Harvard made a strong push towards defending its 2003 national title in its first contest,
winning four of five races on Saturday. However, the Cornell team felt that the results did not reflect what it was like out on the water.
“We matched up pretty well,” said senior Drew Tennant. “They got out early, but we held them from there.”
Harvard won the varsity eight in a time of 5:55.6 with the Red crossing the line close behind in 5:59.4. Cornell kept it close in both the second varsity eight and second freshman eight races, but Harvard still pulled out a win in both contests. Harvard’s final victory came in the third varsity eight, in which the Crimson beat the Red by a 15-second margin.
“It was not as close as we predicted,” Tennant said. ” Harvard got an early lead. We cut into it but could not get even.”
The Red’s only victory for the day came in the freshman eight. The Cornell boat finished just one second ahead of Penn. This was the closest race of the day, as only four seconds separated the Red from third-place Harvard. The freshman eight results were also Penn’s best finish of the day.
Cornell did bring home the Matthews Cup by beating Penn in the varsity eight race. The Red was also awarded the Leonards Cup, which is contested by Penn and Cornell, and goes to the team with the most points throughout the regatta.
“I think for next week we have to be faster in the first half of the race,” Tennant said. ” It’s hard to come back.”
The lightweight crew will head to New Jersey next weekend to face off against Princeton and Rutgers.
The women’s crew also had a challenging day on the water Saturday. The Red won two out of six races against Princeton and defending national champions, Radcliffe.
“Princeton and Radcliffe are good crews,” said head coach Melanie Onufrieff. ” We could have raced better. We did a good job, and the team knows they need to step it up.”
Princeton pulled to victory in the varsity eight, novice eight, and second novice eight. This performance also earned the Tigers the Class of 1975 Cup. Radcliffe’s lone victory was in the second varsity eight. The Red dominated the smaller boats, winning both the varsity four and second varsity four races.
“The eights know they are competing versus the best in the country,” Onufrieff said, ” and they know they need more speed to compete with them. We have good depth. We’re strong and we have people good enough for better boats but not enough seats.”
Cornell was right on the heels of the competition with two exceptions. In the second varsity four race the Red won by 15 seconds, and in the varsity eight race the women were 14 seconds behind the leaders.
“It’s a process,” Onufrieff said. “They’re doing good work. They need to get faster, but they’re taking steps to be the fastest at the end of the season.”
The women’s crew will also be on the road to New Jersey next weekend, where the Red will compete against Rutgers and Penn.
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer