The Cornell men’s heavyweight rowing team is coming off of a narrow defeat in which it finished second in the Stagg Points Plate race behind Navy but finished ahead of Syracuse. This weekend, the Red will travel to New Haven, Conn. to take on Yale and Princeton, and will attempt to bring home the Carnegie Cup for the second year in a row.The Red is going into this weeks competition having gained confidence from a strong performance against Navy last weekend. The Varsity Eight race saw the Red finish just over a second behind Navy, a strong opponent who is very similar to one of this week’s opponents, Princeton.“We saw that our base speed was fast enough to hang with Navy which gave us confidence to build off. … Navy only lost to Princeton by just under three seconds, and so having that close of a race with Navy puts us already right in the mix to win,” senior Chris Massey said.The Red will head to New Haven as the current holders of the Carnegie Cup, awarded to the winner of the varsity eight race between the three teams. Last year, the Red defeated Princeton and Yale’s varsity eight by almost four seconds. The series, which was inaugurated in 1911, has Princeton in the lead with 36 victories. However, the Red’s cup win last season brought the team within two of the leader Princeton. Yale has only 20 Carnegie Cup wins since 1911. Last season, the Red had a very strong showing at the Carnegie Cup and also won all four races that day with wins in the second varsity eight, third varsity eight and freshmen eight races.This Yale Bulldogs come into this weeks race having won its last two races against Dartmouth two weeks ago, and Penn and Columbia last week. Princeton was defeated by No. 2 Harvard last week by a boat length, the week before Princeton defeated Columbia and Penn by a comfortable margin.The Carnegie Cup has been won by the home team the past six years. This year the race is being hosted by Yale, therefore the Red are going to have to adjust their race plan according to the Bulldog’s course. Massey spoke to the importance of the their boats strategy and mental focus while racing on Yale’s home course, “We will be racing on Yale’s course which has a huge turn in the middle. Because of the turn, there is a stagger at the start which can play a huge mental advantage or disadvantage, depending which lane we draw. … it will be really important to stay internal and drive our boat through the turn. Then we can see where we are and attack from there to the finish line,” he said.In previous competitions this season, the Red has struggled to perform as a unit.“We need to make a greater commitment to attacking the competition as a unit rather than as individuals when called upon,” senior captain Kevan Zadeh said. This week, the Red will focus on beginning the race strong and having a singular mindset in each boat. “In order to perform well this weekend we are going to have be very aggressive from the start and then make the collective decision to win in the middle of the race,” Zadeh said.
Original Author: Tucker Maggio-Hucek