April 10, 2006

Crews Take Second, Third

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With men’s heavyweight crew sitting out this weekend, the men’s lightweight and women’s rowing teams were featured, with both teams racing against top competition.
The lightweight varsity boat placed a strong second behind Harvard, finishing ahead of a competitive Penn squad in the race for the Mathew-Leonard Cup on Saturday.
Harvard finished with a time of 6:29.7, with Cornell and Penn crossing the line in times of 6:38.8 and 6:41.9, respectively.
In the other races, Cornell easily dispatched the competition, winning the third varsity race by a convincing 24 seconds and both freshmen races on the day, each by 12 seconds.
This was a big race for the Red, with captain John Ackerman commenting before the season that this was the one race he was looking forward to the most. Stating that “three of the top-5 crews” will be together, Ackerman reiterated head coach Todd Kennett’s ’91 sentiment that the race was one of the ones that everyone had circled on their calendars.
“This was sort of a grudge match for all three crews. Everyone had something at stake and something to defend or hold onto,” Kennett said.
Aside from showing its Ivy competition that Cornell would be a team to contend with at season’s end, the race was also important for the lightweight crew to continue building the momentum it garnered the previous week in its opening race.
After sweeping all five races against Ohio State, Massachusetts, Marist, Hobart and Ithaca College, the lightweight crew showed that despitebeing a youthful and inexperienced squad, it would still be capable of winning races.
Meanwhile, the women’s crew traveled to Princeton for the Class of ’75 Cup to take on Radcliffe and the host crew. The team finished third behind both the Tigers and the Crimson, whose crews are consistently considered among the powerhouses in the sport. As if the strong competition was not enough, the weather did not make things any easier for Cornell, with choppy waters and strong headwinds present throughout the day.
“It was a tough day all around,” said head coach Chris Wilson. “The conditions were pretty miserable; we were rowing into the headwinds.”
The varsity boat finished with a time of 7:38.7, while Princeton took home the victory with a time of 7:11.7. Radcliffe placed second with a time of 7:23.5.
“It was pretty clear we need more water time and experience,” Wilson said. “The varsity’s base cadence was two or three beats lower [than Princeton and Radcliffe]. We can’t compete if we’re not attacking a little more aggressively.”
Wilson’s emphasis on fundamentals was further evident when she commented about the need for the crew to improve the length of its strokes in addition to race cadences.
While the team will continue to work on its drills to get better time, Wilson will also continue to tinker with the lineups in order to improve the team’s chances. Since it is still early in the season, Wilson has not settled on which lineup will prove most effective in a race.
Wilson sounded optimistic about the team’s future, noting that things would get better with “a combo of more time together and more time on the water.”

Archived article by Tim Perone
Sun Staff Writer