By TUCKER MAGGIO-HUCEK
Although both Cornell men’s rowing teams entered the weekend with little experience in competition on the water due to weather conditions in Ithaca, after the weekend’s races were over, both Red squads looked to be in midseason form. Both teams won the varsity eight race and the heavyweight team won the overall points trophy against Navy and Syracuse.
Racing for the second time on the Cayuga Inlet this season, heavyweight junior captain Chris Schang said the team was ready for a challenge.
“All of our Duels throughout the season are against highly competitive crews and there is not a single team we can take lightly,” Schang said. “I am therefore very glad with the performance we showed against Navy and Syracuse in the Varsity Eight.”
For the first time in four seasons, the No. 8 ranked Red’s varsity eight boat defeated No. 9 Navy and No. 17 Syracuse for the Goes Cup, awarded to the winner of the varsity eight race. In a race that was highly contested for the first half, the Red were able to pull ahead in the final stretch and defeat Navy by over three seconds. The second, third and fourth varsity eight races saw the Red fall short, but the freshman eight race brought the Red back into contention for the Stagg Points Trophy. The freshman eight boat cruised past Navy, beating them to finish line by a full ten seconds, and secured the Red the overall points victory.
Schang said he was optimistic about the future for the freshman boat.
“Rowing together and gathering racing experience is extremely important, especially for a young crew,” he said. “If they keep up their focus and work ethic, they will benefit from every single day on the water.”
While the heavyweight team rowed to victory in Ithaca, the lightweight team experienced similar results in New York City. The No. 1 Cornell team took on No. 2 Colombia and No. 7 Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the Geiger Cup. In the varsity eight race for the Cup, the Red defeated both boats by over three seconds in what senior Thomas Evangelista said was a challenging race.
“I think that the varsity eight had a strong performance this weekend, overcoming what was probably not our best race to still come out on top,” he said. “Coming through the middle of the race, Columbia took a monster move to put a lot of pressure on us and get back into contention for the lead.”
The Geiger Cup win was not the only achievement for the Red on Saturday as the third varsity boat and varsity four boat also won their races. The second varsity boat was the only Cornell boat to lose a race as they finished a little over three seconds behind Columbia. The early success will boost the team in training the next few weeks, Evangelista said.
“The team now has two weeks until our next race against Dartmouth and this gives us a great opportunity after the three weekends of racing to reestablish some key areas of our technical rowing and improve our race plan,” he said.
The heavyweights will head back into the water next week in Princeton, N.J. where they will take on Ivy League foes Princeton and Yale.