April 9, 2012

W. ROWING | C.U. Claims Cayuga Cup

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The women’s rowing team raced Princeton, Radcliffe, Columbia and Yale last Saturday, losing the Class of 1975 Cup to Princeton, but defeating Yale to claim the Cayuga Cup. The No. 16 Red raced No. 6 Princeton, Radcliffe and Columbia at Lake Carnegie, N.J. in the morning, before traveling to Derby, Conn. to face Yale in the afternoon.

Princeton swept four of the day’s five events, defeating Cornell by 6.8 seconds in the first Varsity Eight race and by 8.7 seconds in the second Varsity Eight race. The Red’s best finish of the morning came from the Varsity Four A Fleet event, where Cornell placed second behind Radcliffe with a time of 8:39.8. Saturday morning proved to be a struggle for the Red, but the team recognized that there are certain areas that it needs to focus on, according to head coach Hilary Gehman.

“We didn’t maximize our boat speed in the morning,” she said. “We have things to work on.”

The Class of 1975 Cup is an annual competition between Cornell, Princeton and Radcliffe, which is decided by the winner of the first Varsity Eight race. The Red has only won the Class of 1975 Cup once, during its 1983 season, while Princeton has won the Cup 21 times and Radcliffe has won 13 times. Despite this history, the Red was optimistic about its chances going into Saturday’s race, according to Gehman, and remains optimistic about its chances against Princeton in the future.

“Princeton proved that they are fast, but they are beatable,” she said.

The Cayuga Cup proved to be a radically different matchup. The Cup was created in 2003 as a race between Cornell and Yale’s first Varsity Eight boats; however, the record between the two schools is not nearly as lopsided as the Class of 1975 Cup. Cornell was able to claim the crown last year, and returned to Connecticut on Saturday to maintain its possession of the Cup.

Though Saturday afternoon was highlighted by close races, the Red won the Cup by a narrow margin of 3.2 seconds, racing a 6:18.2 to Yale’s 6:21.4. Cornell eventually lost to Yale in the second Varsity Eight, second Varsity four, and third Varsity Eight events; however, the Red rowed past Yale in the first Varsity Four event by going a 7:17.2 to Yale’s 7:23.7.

“In four of our races, the margin of victory was less than a second, but we bounded back to beat Yale,” Gehman said. “We brought back the Cayuga Cup, which was really exciting.”

According to Gehman, Saturday’s races proved that the Red still has a lot to work on if it wants to be competitive at this year’s Ivy League Championships. The Ivy League Championships will pit Cornell against every team in the Ivy League, including Princeton, and is extremely important for determining which teams will be invited to this year’s NCAA tournament.

“We will work on sprints, among other things. The first Varsity Eight boat needs to work on their start,” Gehman said. “Conditions played a little bit of a role [on Saturday], so we’ll continue to practice in wind. We have to be able to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at us.”

Original Author: Alex Gatto