On Saturday morning, parents, friends, alumni and visiting schools — Penn and Rutgers — got to experience and hopefully appreciate just how temperamental Ithaca’s weather can truly be. The morning was marked with bouts of light rain, 15 mph gusts of wind and temperatures hovering just below 40 degrees. For most people, conditions like these would surely justify getting back into the warmth of a heated car and driving home; however, for the No. 12 ranked women’s rowing team, the day’s forecast was just one more part of the challenge that they needed to overcome to win the Raritan Cup for the second year in a row — which they did.
“The weather wasn’t beautiful,” said senior co-captain Kyleen Parajon. “We got the job done though — it worked out well for us.”
“We were here over Spring Break and it was miserable,” added fellow senior co-captain Natalie Wingerning. “No conditions are really a challenge, [so] we’ll face anything and we know our competition has to race in the same conditions — we can’t change the weather.”
The first race of the day began at 8:40 a.m. with the third Varsity boat taking to the water. Cornell came out strong right out of the gate, finishing in 7:05.37 — over six seconds before Penn and a comfortable 41 seconds before Rutgers. The next two races in the second and first Varsity 8 boats also went extremely well for Cornell. The Red finished ahead of the competition by over four seconds in the first Varsity boat with Wingerning rowing at sixth seat — the closest win of the day.
“It was great to see wins across the program — it shows our depth and how strong we are,” Wingerning said. “There were some great races and it was great to have the home advantage and to win in front of our parents and friends.”
The fourth race of the day shook the Red’s confidence a bit as the first Varsity 4 boat finished behind Penn by 7.40 seconds. Though this marked Cornell’s only loss of the day, the Red won its third straight Class of ’89 Points Plate — the award given to the school that amasses the most points over the course of the day.
Cornell finished the day strong — edging out Ivy rival Penn with commendable leads in the Varsity 4B and 4C boats. Parajon, rowing second seat, ended the day with a win in the third Varsity boat, beating Penn by 42.1 seconds.
“We feel like the season is headed in a really positive way,” Parajon said. “It’s been positive for us — we are looking to gain some momentum going into [the Eastern] Sprints.”
The Red will travel to Providence, R.I., this coming Saturday, where it will take on Ivy foes Brown and Columbia on the Seekonk River. Cornell has been building momentum all season — placing above the competition with its first Varsity 8 boat in two of its past three races.
“It will be a different race [against Brown and Columbia],” Wingerning said. “They’ve consistently been faster in past years. This year we’re within striking distance of them — it’ll be a good race between all of the boats.”
The team looks to keep improving and using the upcoming weekend as a glimpse of what the Eastern Sprints may bring.
“We’re preparing for [the race] the same way we have all along,” Parajon commented. “We’re really excited to see how we stack up after this weekend — we’ll have a good sense of our competition at Sprints.”
“It will be be great to race next to a boat that’s ranked higher than us,” Wingerning added. “So it will be great to see about us coming out higher than them in some if not all of the races.”
Original Author: Lauren Ritter