April 26, 2004

Lightweight Crew Sweeps Competition in Two States

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The lightweight crew led the way for the Red’s rowing teams on Saturday with an unprecedented day of races, travel, and victory.

The Red started the morning with a contest against MIT and Columbia on the Charles River in Boston.

“The guys did a great job,” said head coach Todd Kennett ’91. “They stayed controlled and executed.”

Cornell finished eight seconds ahead of Columbia to win the varsity eight race and claim the Geiger Cup. It was the Red’s 27th victory in the race, which has been held every year since 1956.

“We scheduled this thinking of it as a dry run for Eastern championships and national championships,” Kennett said. “We went into the morning race knowing how important it was, knowing that if we didn’t win it, the second race was meaningless.”

The Red swept the regatta, winning all four races in Boston, did a quick cool-down, and then made the two-and-a-half hour bus trip to Derby, Conn.

“We knew Yale would be really great competition,” Kennett said. “We were really limiting the kids and putting them on the short end of the stick, but we wanted to see how fast Yale is.”

The Red matched up well with the Elis, pulling its way to a first place finish in the varsity and JV races.

The varsity turned in a time of 5:29.4, the fastest Kennett can remember a lightweight varsity boat racing in his career at Cornell.

“Both races were huge,” he said. “They both built off each other. Both were just rewards for the guys, who have bought into the system and put in their sweat, pain, blood, and tears. They stayed relaxed and continued doing their thing.”

The heavyweight team also put in a strong effort but had less success in Saturday’s competition against Princeton and Yale.

The Red fell short in its defense of the Carnegie Cup, crossing the line two seconds behind Princeton in the varsity race.

“Princeton has more horsepower,” said head coach Dan Roock. “We rowed very well — an aggressive race — and had really good speed in the end.”

Since the Carnegie Cup was established in 1921, Princeton has won 33 times, Cornell 28, and Yale 17.

The Red did pull out victories in the second varsity eight and the second freshman eight, and beat Yale in every race except the third varsity contest.

“We showed some pretty exceptional speed,” Roock said. “The crew recognizes that they put in a solid performance, and we beat Yale so soundly on their home course.”

The Red will have a chance to catch the Tigers later in the season, when the two teams will meet again at Eastern Sprints.

“We’re going to continue with our training plan,” Roock said. “Every week we’ve been faster, regardless of our placement in the races. I’m really happy with the way things are coming together.”

In Ithaca, the women’s crew faced off against Brown and Columbia for the Dunn Bowl. Brown, currently ranked No. 4, took five of six races.

“It took the varsity a while to find their groove,” said head coach Melanie Onufrieff. “Brown is a good crew and they were too far ahead.”

Cornell picked up a win in the second varsity four contest. The Red came in second in every other race, with Columbia bringing up the rear.

“We don’t spend a lot of time paying attention to how our competition is doing,” Onufrieff said. “We focus on what we are going to do.”

Despite the loss, the Red is optimistic about the rest of the season and future races against Brown. “One of these days we’ll take it back,” Onufrieff said of the loss. “But it wasn’t this weekend.”

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer