April 17, 2007

Men Win Two Cups; Women Take Third

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The men’s heavyweight and lightweight crews got some quality racing in over the weekend before The Day After Tomorrow was reenacted on Ithaca. Saturday, the lightweights took home the Platt Cup, beating out Princeton and Rutgers before the heavyweights ended a long-standing rivalry with Rutgers Sunday, taking the Howard Smith Cup from the Scarlet Knights. Meanwhile, the women escaped East Hill for the weekend, taking on Penn and Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J., but finishing third in the race for the Raritan Cup.
The lightweights made Bartels corridor-worthy history with their fourth-straight win in the Platt Cup. In the cup’s 40-year history, it has been won four years in a row many times — by Princeton. Never before, however, had Cornell pulled off the four-peat.
“This was our big weekend,” said senior Greg Heidt. “We knew that Princeton was coming in with a lot to prove. This makes four years in a row for us. We’re the crew to beat. They came in knowing that, and we knew they would bring it. The fact that varsity, the JV and the 3V walk away with the win shows the depth of our program.”
Indeed, the varsity eight finished with a time of 6:21.6, nearly eight seconds ahead of Princeton, and an even 16 seconds in front of Rutgers. The second varsity eight edged out Princeton by a second-and-a-half with Rutgers nearly 30 seconds behind the Red. The 3V actually found its strongest competition in the heavyweight rowers, taking the place of the non-existent Rutgers’ 3V. The lightweights scooted by the heavyweights by a two-second margin.
The novice boats also showed their strength, but the first novice eight won on a technicality when the Princeton coxswain, weighing in nearly 30 pounds under the minimum, forgot to bring the mandatory extra weight with her into the boat. According to Heidt, though, each boat still exceeded expectations
“Princeton had been on the water a lot longer than us,” Heidt said. “We were expecting them to row a little better than us. We just had to remember that our rowing is where it is now, and we need to remember to go out there and pull as hard as we can because we need to win races based on being stronger than other crews. Now that we have a month before sprints we can focus more on the technical aspects.”
With very little time on the water to get down their rhythm, Heidt pointed out that one of the major keys to the team’s success was being able to find that consistency during the race.
“We wanted to make sure that we kept our speed in the second half of the race … whether that was staying with the other crew or moving away,” Heidt said.
The heavyweights also experienced a dominating weekend in their last regatta with Rutgers, a team that will be demoted to the club level next year. While senior Tyler Davis lamented the end of a longstanding rivalry between two traditionally strong programs, he concentrated more on the ramifications of the varsity eight pulling away from the Scarlet Knights boat to win by six seconds, finishing with a time of 5:58.0.
“It was a step in the right direction from the races we’ve had before,” said senior Tyler Davis. “Personally I would have liked to have seen a bigger margin. But we had a better race than last week.”
Like the heavyweights, one of the things Davis saw his squad improving on was consistency during the race.
“We tend to frontload our races, and this weekend I thought we had more consistent sped throughout the race,” David said.
“We haven’t had a race where a crew is ahead of us at 500 meters. But we can’t do that and then let them walk by us. We need to be able to maintain that speed.”
The two varsity four boats had no problem getting ahead and staying ahead against Rutgers. The two Cornell fours finished four seconds apart from each other, but more than 30 seconds ahead of Rutgers. The novice eight also scored a win beating Rutgers by four seconds.
Still, Davis sees room for improvement, but focuses on the positives.
“It’s hard to compare to other crews, but it’s the same margin Princeton beat them by a couple of weeks ago,” Davis said.
“I think we definitely have a lot of speed to still find. It’s encouraging to know we can still be fast and have a lot of speed to find [for Eastern Sprints and IRAs].”
As for the women’s crew, the team took the trip down I-71 to New Jersey to row the Raritan River. It was not the Red’s best performance, however.
A relatively young varsity eight — featuring three freshmen — finished just under 12 seconds behind first-place Penn and five seconds behind second-place Rutgers.
The first varsity stroked the boat to a time of 6:55.1. The Raritan Cup was awarded to Penn for its victory in the race. It was the third straight regatta the Red had finished third out of three teams.
Penn raced well up and down the lineup to securing the Class of ’89 Cup, given to the team with the most overall points.
While Penn placed first in every single race, Cornell found themselves in third in each race except the novice eight. The novice eight, pulling a time of 7:09.7, finished just over five seconds behind Penn, and just under two seconds in front of Rutgers.
The Red decided to strap in a new lineup in the second varsity boat.
Although the eight were not met with the desired results, finishing about 20 seconds out of first place and nine seconds out of second, senior Kim Lyle saw the potential for improvement.
“We were happy with the way we raced in a new lineup,” she said. “Because it’s such a new combination we just need to work on rowing together better and working together.”