April 21, 2008

W. Rowing Gets Win; M. Rowing Falls to Bulldogs

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The weekend was a mixed bag of emotions for the Cornell rowing teams, as the women finished triumphantly with a trophy in hand and both men’s teams fell to the competition.
The Red women earned the Class of ’89 Points Plate defeating both Penn and Rutgers on the Cayuga inlet this past Saturday. However, Syracuse took the Goes Trophy from the heavyweight men on the same waters. The No. 1 lightweight men suffered a loss to No. 4 Princeton in New Jersey Saturday morning and a loss to No. 2 Yale in Connecticut Saturday afternoon.
Though the women’s team was not the only Cornell crew to perform well this weekend, their efforts certainly earned them the best results. The first varsity-8 crossed the line in 6:39.5, merely three seconds behind the Quakers and well ahead of third place Rutgers.[img_assist|nid=30053|title=Leaving the Titanic|desc=The women varsity-8 race against Penn and Rutgers in Ithaca on Saturday. The squad edged out both schools for the Class of ’89 Points Plate.|link=node|align=left|width=569|height=325]
“We placed second, but overall we had a pretty strong race,” said sophomore coxswain Caitlin Runyan. “We do have a few points that we want to work on, but we had a really strong final 500 [meters], and our sprint was really effective. We pulled back on Penn a lot, so that’s really good going into the next few races to know that we have a strong sprint.”
Nearly all of the remaining Cornell boats were able to hold off the competition, as the second varsity-8, first and second varsity-4s and the novice-8 all won their respective races. Some of the rowers raced in two different boats, which helped to fuel a comeback on Penn that was enough to put the Red ahead of Penn by one point in team totals and claim the Class of ’89 Points Plate. The day marked yet another impressive performance by the novice boat.
“The freshmen are having a great season,” Runyan said. “We are really proud of the team and that we won the Points trophy this weekend. which is a huge deal. … Getting out there and rowing two races was also great. We are really, really happy with the results this weekend.”
The No. 10 Cornell men’s heavyweight team may have shared the inlet with the women, but it was unable to share the same success. No. 12 Syracuse and Navy both downed the varsity-8 boat. The men crossed the line in 5:48.6, eight seconds after Syracuse and six seconds behind Navy. After losing in the final stretch to both teams last year, the rowers were especially disappointed with this weekend’s results.
“Last year, we lost in the last 300 meters, so we really worked on our sprinting the whole week,” said senior Rob McCormack. “Our base speed wasn’t as high as it needs to be at this time of year. The race went fine, but there just wasn’t as much energy as there has been.”
The second varsity-8 and the novice-8, however, turned in strong performances and defeated the competition by four- and three-second margins, respectively. The comeback was not quite enough, though, to prevent the Orange from claiming the Stagg Cup.
“We need to keep working on technique and improving our skills, and hopefully we’ll just get faster and faster,” McCormack said. “We know that we just have to work harder, and we’ll do that.”
In Princeton on Saturday morning and Connecticut in the afternoon, the lightweight men were equally as disappointed.
In a dual race against the Tigers, the second varsity-8 was the only victorious boat. The first varsity-8 and novice-8 both finished four seconds behind the Tigers. A few hours later, the team got the chance to rebound against the No. 2 Bulldogs. Unfortunately, fatigue from the first race and strong winds kept all but one Cornell boat from victory. The second novice-8 defeated Yale, while the first three varsity and first novice boat lost by an average of six seconds.