November 11, 2005

Freshmen Crews Set for Belly of Carnegie

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With all three of the Red’s varsity crews finished for the fall and already into their winter training sessions, the attention turns this weekend to the future of Cornell crew – the freshmen squads.

The freshmen men’s heavyweight, men’s lightweight, and women’s novice crews will all be at Princeton this Sunday for the annual Belly of the Carnegie. All three teams are relatively inexperienced in competition, having only raced together last weekend at Syracuse. Sunday will be a major test, as they go up against some very tough squads, including most of the Ivies and a host of other collegiate crew powerhouses.

The Belly of the Carnegie is designed differently than most crew races, and the Red has prepared accordingly. Rather than granting first to the top finishing boat, the Belly of the Carnegie rewards the school with the top-2 boats overall. Therefore, the Red will try to evenly balance both its “A” and “B” boats.

The women’s novice squad has high expectations for the weekend, looking to make a strong impression on the competition in its final race before winter training begins.

“We want both boats to be equal speed, and we’d like to finish with both boats in the fastest six overall,” said women’s novice head coach Hilary Gehman.

After Sunday’s race, Gehman expects her squad to work hard in the offseason and prepare well for next spring.

“We’re looking to improve on all levels during training – fitness, skill, and toughness,” Gehman said.

The men’s lightweight team, a perennial competitor, will also be looking to finish up the fall with a victory in Princeton. Three years ago, the two men’s lightweight boats took first and second place at the Belly of the Carnegie, and this year’s squad is aiming for similar success.

“We’re hoping to repeat that,” said freshman Stefan Brabeck.

In terms of winter training, the lightweight crew is looking to stay in shape by working with the varsity team.

“We’ll pick up a lot of speed and start to make a top boat,” Brabeck said.

The men’s heavyweight team, which has traditionally been stuck in the middle of the pack, is looking to set a good tone for next spring’s season. The Belly of the Carnegie will serve as one of the first opportunities for the squad to gain valuable race experience.

“This is the main event of the fall for them,” said heavyweight coach Dan Roock. “It gives the freshmen a great opportunity to race.”

Looking beyond this weekend’s race to winter training and the spring season, Roock believes the Red has a lot of potential.

“It’ll be a tough year for every squad because of youth, but I’m still optimistic,” Roock said.

All three Cornell novice squads will make lots of progress this winter, especially during the annual trip to a warm weather location, which will likely be to Florida this year. Along with the varsity crew, the rowers will train for one to two weeks over winter break, looking to build up speed and team unity.

Archived article by Greg Slovick
Sun Contributor