May 7, 2004

W. Crew Rows at Eastern Sprints

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The women’s crew has been waiting all season for Sunday’s EAWRC Sprints competition.

“This is what we’ve been training for,” said head coach Melanie Onufrieff. “To go as fast as possible [at Eastern Sprints].”

The Red will go up against all the members of the Eastern Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges on Sunday to compete for medals in each race and the overall Willing Points Trophy.

“I think they’re all in a pretty good place,” Onufrieff said. “They’ll all be ready to go.”

Last year, the Red finished fifth in the points standings. Radcliffe will be defending its overall title Sunday, while 2003 runners-up Brown and Princeton have been battling for dominance in the rankings all season.

“We’re really looking forward to racing,” said senior co-commodore Amelia Siani. “How we do determines if we go to NCAAs, which is really important. It adds a little more pressure, but we’re really excited.”

All six of the Red’s boats will race twice on Sunday, once in a morning heat and then again in the afternoon’s finals. The additional racing poses a challenge for the crews, but Onufrieff does not think it will affect the Red.

“That’s what you do at this thing,” she said. “We’ve done this all year in practice, it’s no surprise.”

Siani agreed that the team is unfazed by the racing schedule and is anxious to get on the water.

“We’re really looking forward to racing,” she said. “This week has been a really good week to work on the little things.”

Last year, the Red’s best performance came from the second novice eight, which was second overall. The Red’s varsity eight boat won the petite finals, earning a seventh place finish overall. The women just missed medals in the second varsity and varsity four races, finishing in fourth place. The novice eight and a second varsity four boat added two more seventh place showings for the Red. Cornell is aiming to improve across the board in Sunday’s races.

“We’re looking for all the boats to come away with medals,” Siani said. “And we want to improve on our ranking.”

The crew is ranked fifth in the varsity eight race. Princeton leads the rankings, followed by Brown, Yale, and Radcliffe. The Red has faced each of the teams in the regular season schedule, but failed to win any of the dual meets.

“It’s great to see fast crews going into Sprints,” Onufrieff said. “It’s good to know how fast you have to go. The regular season is a chance to test your speed and see how you’re doing, but you have to start over on Sunday.”

Siani agreed, adding that the team will find be more motivated when it sees these teams for the seocond time on Sunday.

“It’s really interesting to go into a race when the top competition beat you in the regular season,” she said. “We look at it as another chance.”

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer