April 18, 2011

Young Rowers Place Second to Syracuse

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The Cornell heavyweight men’s rowing team lost the Goes Cup to No. 12 Syracuse, but placed ahead of No. 13 Navy last weekend on the Cayuga Lake Inlet. Syracuse also won the Stagg Team Trophy, beating Navy through a varsity 8 tie breaker.The varsity 8 finished with a time of 5:45.0, losing by 2.8 seconds to Syracuse and edging out Navy by 1.5 seconds. The second varsity 8 fell to both teams with a time of 5:54.7 compared to Syracuse (5:50.9) and Navy (5:48.7). Cornell was victorious in the 3V race, with a time of 5:55.2 — which topped Syracuse by 3 seconds and Navy by 10.7 seconds.Because of its young team, the mistakes the Red commit during races are primarily due to lack of experience. The varsity boats are comprised of mainly sophomores and juniors, and Cornell can lose its composure, which affects stroke timing. “To be honest, I don’t think we raced our best,” said head coach Todd Kennet ’91. “We raced hard, but we didn’t race smartly. We did a few things that we haven’t really done in practice which cost us real estate, making it hard to say how we matched up against the boats.”    Across the board, the units got off to a good start during the first third of the race, but lost their rhythm and efficiency during the middle third and were unable to narrow the resulting deficit. This was prevalent in the second varsity race.    “The race was pretty even up until about 700 meters. We were even with Syracuse, Navy had pushed ahead, but then they both made a big move at 700 m,” said sophomore Alex Mercho. “Then we had the outside of the turn which made it worse, and they took another four seats through the turn. After that we weren’t able to get back into the race.”The heavyweight team will look to redeem itself this weekend against Princeton and Yale in Trenton, N.J. for the Carnegie Cup. Both teams are coming off solid weekends: Princeton had a close race with Harvard last weekend, while Yale defeated Penn and Columbia at home. After the Carnegie Cup, the heavyweights won’t have any races until Eastern Sprints May 15th.

“It’s a huge race — it’s the last race we have before the Ivy and IRA Championships. Princeton is rowing really well. They narrowly lost to Harvard and have won everything else. Yale has had really solid boat speed,” Kennett said. “This will be a really good test of ourselves, believing in ourselves and paying attention to rowing our race.”

The men’s lightweight team raced Princeton at home in its first race of the spring season. The No. 4 ranked Red fell short of the No. 1 ranked Tigers in the varsity 8 race with a time of 5:50.2 compared to Princeton’s 5:47.1. The first varsity boat started rusty, losing half a boat length at the start and then again at the turn, which led to the three-second deficit. Princeton’s second varsity 8 had an early-seat advantage that they maintained throughout the race, resulting in Cornell finish at 5:55.4, which was 2.5 seconds behind Princeton’s. Cornell did rack up wins for the third varsity 8 and freshman 8 races, with times of 6:10.1 compared to Princeton’s 6:21.7 and 5:59.6 compared to Princeton’s 6:02.2, respectively. For a fourth consecutive season, Princeton retained the Platt. The Tigers are undefeated this season.

Because individuals’ strength and size is similar across the board, lightweight teams cannot, a matchup between any two of the lightweight squads is normally competitive.

“Everyone is pretty fast and very tough,” said senior captain Kyle Traub. “In the lightweight league, the big difference between winning sprints and being last is a 10 second difference. Everyone is pretty tight because we are all the same size.”

The Red will travel this weekend for two races on Saturday. The first is against Yale and Delaware in New Haven, Conn. on Saturday morning, followed by a race in Harlem for the Geiger Cup against Columbia, MIT and Georgetown on Saturday afternoon. Since last weekend was the first race of the spring season for the lightweights, the back-to-back races will show how the team stacks up against other squads in preparation for Eastern Sprints and IRA Championships.

“Our coach is pushing us hard, we are pushing each other hard,” said junior coxswain Mike Szymoniak. “Our end goal is winning Sprints and the IRA national championships.”

Original Author: Nicole Wagner