April 23, 2012

M. ROWING | Cornell Sweeps All Competition, Home and Away

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The men’s heavyweight and lightweight rowing teams went a combined 8-0 on Saturday, as both squads swept their competition to earn the Carnegie Cup and Geiger Cup, respectively.

The heavyweights welcomed Princeton and Yale to the Cayuga Lake Inlet, with the Varsity 8 crew finishing with a time of 6:00.7 ahead of the fifth-ranked Tigers (6:04.6) and similarly-ranked Bulldogs (6:11.3) to pull off the upset.

“They were ranked a lot higher than us, so [in terms of] poll ranking, it was an upset; to me, in terms of what the guys were capable of all year … it’s not a surprise to me that we were able to generate that kind of speed,” said men’s heavyweight head coach Todd Kennett ’91.

Senior co-commodore Jim Voter echoed this sentiment, explaining that “according to the rankings, we were the underdog in this race. We knew we were competitive, and we knew that if we had the right race, we could beat them.”

Voter said that racing at home holds a distinct advantage for the Red, in that the team knows how to break up the course and determine ahead of time how hard it can go for each distance.

“It gives us a slight advantage, but all the other crews get here a day early so that they can try to make the racecourse their own — so it’s the same disadvantage that we’d have if we went to Syracuse,” he said.

“That’s sort of the nature of this regatta — that the home team has that advantage,” Voter added.

As far as Saturday’s race-day conditions were concerned, Voter said that the previous day’s weather forecast had predicted a tailwind, and that his crew had trained in anticipation of a tail push, which will generally make the racecourse faster and necessitate a different rowing style.

“It was a little bit of a shock when we got down here and saw that the wind had shifted on us and we were going to be rowing with a headwind,” he said. “But it seemed like we were able to re-focus ourselves and take advantage of that.”

“[Rowing] is an outdoor sport, so you’re always thinking about those kind of things anyway, and we had practiced a little bit earlier in the week for the headwind … as we got closer and it looked like it was going to be a tail[wind], we got more and more specific with that,” Kennett said.

The men’s heavyweight skipper added that the team did have “a back-up on a few things,” and just before the Varsity 8 boat launched he spoke to the crew’s strokeman [senior Kevan Zadeh] and coxswain [junior Ryan Anthony] about making a few tweaks without significantly altering the race plan.

The No. 4 Cornell lightweight team, meanwhile, traveled to Boston, Mass., where the Red swept No. 7 Columbia and No. 11 MIT on the Charles River to claim its fifth Geiger Cup in as many years, and its seventh in the last eight seasons.

The Varsity 8 crew bested the Lions by seven seconds, finishing with a time of 6:11.4 to 6:18.6 — well-ahead of third-place MIT (6:41.4). Cornell’s second Varsity 8 crew also picked up a win over Columbia, while the Red’s two Varsity Four boats went Nos. 1-2 in the Fours race, with seven seconds separating the two crews.

MIT’s A team finished 14 seconds behind Cornell’s B squad in the Fours event to claim third place.

The Red’s Freshmen 8 boat finished with a time of 6:37.8 to defeat the Engineers (6:42.5) and Lions (6:54.0).

Cornell’s lightweight squad is on the road again next weekend, as the Red travels to Hanover, N.H., to race the Dartmouth Green for the Baggaley Bowl.

Original Author: Alex Kuczynski-Brown