April 18, 2010

W. Rowers Win Raritan Cup, Class of ’89 Plate

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The women’s rowing team proved that it deserved its national ranking with a dominating performance on Saturday in New Jersey. The 20th ranked Red swept all six races at the Raritan River in New Brunswick to win the Raritan Cup and the Class of 1989 Plate. The Red also won the plate for the second straight year, marking an impressive Saturday, as Cornell has not won both the cup and the plate in the same day since 2005.

The Raritan Cup is awarded to the winner of the varsity eight team race and the Class of 1989 Plate is awarded to the school that accumulated the most points over the entire day. Facing great competition in Rutgers and Penn, Cornell was able to come away with victories across the board to secure both honors.

The varsity eight crew finished with a time of 6:32.3 for the best time on the day. The second varsity eight team won its race with a 6:42.0 and the third varsity won in 6:52.1. The varsity four team defeated Penn with a time of 7:31.0 and the varsity four B teams finished with times of 7:26.1 and 7:44.7. The third varsity team left the day with another victory, keeping the undefeated winning streak on the season alive.

The team felt that this victory was especially important after losing to Penn last year. Penn also had a four-season winning streak in the Raritan Cup until Cornell broke it this season.

“Our team has been wanting to beat Penn all year,” said sophomore Tracy Eisser.

There were many factors that contributed to the Red’s success over the weekend.

“We definitely had more confidence this time. The plan was to go ahead and stay ahead and we did really well,” said sophomore Niki Tsamis.

“I think this week we had especially sharp focus and we thought that all our boats could win. In practice, we were especially focused and we were going hard after this goal,” Eisser said.

With the team’s hard work, great focus and growing confidence, the team has been getting results warranting notice. Last week, the Red was ranked 20th overall in the nation by the U.S. Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association NCAA Division I Coaches Poll.

“[The ranking] was really exciting. Hopefully, after this weekend, we can move up even more. … People are starting to notice how fast we’ve gotten,” Tsamis said.

Such an experience has been new to all of the rowers, as the last time the Red was ranked was back in 2004.

“This is the first time anyone on this team has been on a ranked team. … It shows that Cornell has made great improvement,” Eisser said.

Despite the success, Cornell has not been breezing through the competition and has faced challenges, even over the weekend. The weather was not the most ideal and could have easily deterred the team.

“The conditions were really challenging with a very strong tailwind. Although we could benefit from more practice in rough conditions, I think we handled it really well out there,” Eisser said.

Original Author: Wankyu Lee