This weekend will be the last chance for the rowing teams to get ready for the postseason, with all three crews ending their regular-season schedules. The men’s heavyweight and lightweight crews will have three weeks to practice before they race for the EARC championships on May 21, while the women’s crew will race the week before at the EAWRCs.
The first order of business for all crews, however, is a solid finish to the regular season, with the men’s heavyweight squad traveling to Piscataway, N.J., to race Rutgers, and the lightweight and women’s crews headed north to the waters of Hanover, N.H., as both crews take on Dartmouth.
The men’s heavyweights hope to rebound after last weekend’s third-place finish at the Carnegie Cup, in which the Red finished 10 seconds behind first-place Princeton. This weekend Cornell hopes to right the ship against a Rutgers squad that is also hoping to redeem itself after the Scarlet Knights were swept by Harvard last weekend.
Meanwhile, the lightweight crew also hopes to avoid a losing streak before the postseason, as the Red lost out on the Geiger Cup to Columbia last week, with the first varsity boat losing by just two and a half seconds. The loss stirred things up a bit for the crew, as head coach Todd Kennett ’91 decided this week in practice to move two junior varsity racers into the top boat for the grudge match this weekend against Dartmouth.
Kennett added sophomores Preston O’Connell and Chris Bunnell to the first varsity boat because of what they could bring to the race.
“They bring a little different attitude to the boat, a good race attitude – not that the other [racers] don’t, but [O’Connell and Bunnell] are real attackers. Hopefully, it’ll rub off on the others,” Kennett said.
Kennett made this decision as a response to the performances he saw last weekend against Columbia, noting that his varsity boat seemed unable to take the lead even when his crew was seemingly doing everything right. He also happened to notice that his junior varsity crew solidly beat the Lions, leading him to inject some new energy into the top boat with the goal being to produce better results against Dartmouth in one of the most important races of the season.
Dartmouth is having an outstanding season so far, as the Green are currently ranked No. 3 in the country. Kennett noted that the yearly race with Dartmouth has always been the most competitive of the season, with the road crew winning each race over a six year span – a trend that ended last year when the Red defended its home waters.
The lightweight crew hopes to make it three in a row against Dartmouth this weekend, gathering some momentum as the crew heads into the EARC championships.
The women’s crew will also be making the trip north to take on Dartmouth in its final regular-season race. The Parents’ Cup will give the Red a chance its first victory for the top varsity boat.
The novice boats for the women’s squad have been a source of strength all season, and they hope to finish the campaign with a solid performance as a sign of what will come next year when they step onto the varsity boats.