April 23, 2004

Crews Compete for Carnegie in New Haven

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The Cornell rowing teams will take to the water for the most competitive and challenging races of the season tomorrow, both at home in Ithaca and on the waters of New England. The Carnegie Cup will be up for grabs, as the heavyweight crew travels to New Haven, Conn., to face Yale and Princeton.

“We’re very excited,” said head coach Dan Roock. “This is our most competitive and most difficult race of the year. Princeton and Yale any given year can be an exceptional crew. It should be really hot.”

Cornell brought home the trophy at last year’s competition for the first time in a dozen attempts. The Red won the varsity and third varsity races in 2003, and Princeton won the other three races contested. The tight races of last year foreshadow an even closer matchup this weekend.

“Princeton comes in as the favorite,” Roock said. “It’s unclear from previous results where we stack up with Yale. But last year we broke a long string of losses. It shows us there’s no jinx, that it’s a winnable race.”

Both Yale and Princeton have had strong seasons up to this point. The Tigers suffered a loss to defending national champion Harvard last weekend by less than two seconds. The Elis have momentum on their side, coming into tomorrow’s race with two victorious weekends behind them. The lightweight crew will be chasing victory in the Geiger Cup against MIT and Columbia in Boston, Mass., tomorrow.

Last year, the Red won two races before falling to Columbia by less than three seconds in the varsity race to lose the Geiger Cup. Columbia has won the cup seven out the last 10 contests, but the Red still holds the overall lead in the annual competition, having won the cup 26 times since 1956.

“[This year] has nothing to do with last year,” said head coach Todd Kennett ’91. “This is a whole new group of guys. They want to be known for what they’re doing. They’re going to race to race, and race to win.”

Neither Columbia nor MIT has won a varsity race all season, giving the Red the edge on the water this weekend. Cornell has earned two varsity victories this season.

After the Boston races, the lightweight crew will travel to Derby, Conn., to face Yale in the afternoon. The additional travel poses another obstacle to the Red, but Kennett thinks it will be good for the team.

“Both national championships and league championships have two races in the same day,” Kennett said. “I look at this like a dry run. In the morning, we’ll have a hard race. In the afternoon, Yale is smoking fast. It’s a great taste for us.”

Yale promises stiff competition. The Elis have won their last two outings, including victories against Columbia and Penn, and a sweep of MIT. But Kennett is confident the Red will have a strong day tomorrow.

“If the guys really want to race and win, it’s going to be tremendous racing,” he said. “I’m talking hang on to your seats, Batman, cause we’re going for a ride.”

The women’s crew will stay at home this weekend, facing Brown and Columbia on Cayuga Lake. Last spring, Brown dominated the Red, winning all five races and claiming the title in the Dunn Bowl. The Red finished second in every race except the varsity race, in which it trailed Brown by 13 seconds.

While Columbia has yet to win a varsity race this season, Brown is ranked No. 4 in the nation and has swept the last three regattas it has raced. The Red has one varsity victory in dual races this season.

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer