March 15, 2011

Not Even Ithaca Weather Can Hold Back Cornell Crew

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After most Cornell students have left Ithaca for spring break, the men’s and women’s rowing teams will still be in town to train and compete in the Ithaca Round Robin on March 26 at Ithaca College. The other men’s teams competing (besides Ithaca College) are yet to be determined, although they usually include a few Division III teams from the Northeast area. In the past, Hobart, Trinity and Marist have all participated. The women’s team will race Ithaca College in the morning and Marietta in the afternoon.

The Ithaca Round Robin serves as a good indication of where the teams are at the beginning of the season, provides Cornell with a relatively low-pressure race at home and gives the coaches the opportunity to fine-tune their lineups.

Due to the less than stellar weather in Ithaca, Cornell has only been on the water a few days compared to other top competition, which has been able to practice outside for a couple of weeks. The teams will use spring break to train on Cayuga Lake, with a regiment of two or three practices a day, including lifts and fitness workouts, in order to enter the season as prepared as possible.

The men’s heavyweight team, despite losing several seniors from the top boat last season, has had a successful winter training season and is excited to see how the Red fares this season.  The team finished 6th at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston and had a third place finish by the heavyweight 8 at the Princeton Chase in the fall. The following weekend after the Ithaca Round Robin, the heavyweight team will compete against Harvard, one of the best teams in the country.

“It’s been one of the best that I’ve seen since I’ve been here, we have had a lot of guys setting new personal records, a lot of guys putting in a lot of extra work, which is really great to see,” said heavyweight captain Colin Smith said. “We [are] preparing for [the] Harvard race which is the week after spring break; it’s very exciting that that is coming up.”

Placing second at the Head of the Charles Regatta, the men’s lightweight team finished the fall off strong and has capitalized on that momentum to improve their erg times during winter training. The Ithaca Round Robin gives the lightweight team the ability to assess their speed against the Division III heavyweight team and see how they match up to Cornell’s heavyweight team.

“We race against our heavyweights and against the Division III heavyweights, if we can beat the D3 heavyweights it’s a good indication of where we are,” said lightweight captain Kyle Traub.

Ultimately, the lightweight team wants to win the cup at Eastern Sprints and Nationals, which it feels is an attainable goal.

“All of our erg numbers are better; we are right on track to be right there at the top of the podium — 1st place at Sprints and Nationals — if we continue to put together a good season on the water,” Traub said.

The women’s team also had a successful fall, winning the championship 4 event at the Head of the Charles, a first for Cornell rowing. The Red has maintained its progress with varied workouts, incorporating erging, using the indoor tanks to make technical improvements and weight training. The women’s team has only been on the water twice so far this spring, so they are looking forward to getting back on the water and competing against Ithaca College.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to race,” said head coach Hilary Gehman. “It’s the last weekend of spring break. We will be working over spring break to finalize and find the right lineups, it’s a great way to test these lineups in the scrimmage format … IC is one of the best Division III teams in the country, so it will be a good test of our speed.”

Original Author: Nicole Wagner