Cameron Pollack | Sun Photography Editor

Both rowing teams had successful weekends right here in Ithaca.

May 2, 2017

Lightweight Rowing Secures Undefeated Cup Season; Heavyweights Get Back on Track

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“It is not about rowing perfectly, it is not about being smooth, it is about getting your boat ahead,” Cornell Heavyweight Rowing head coach Todd Kennett ’91 told The Sun prior to his team’s races in Philadelphia last weekend.

“Hopefully our boat feels smooth [and] sets up, but it has to go fast to get ahead,” he continued

Getting ahead is just what the Red did, as No. 18 Cornell swept Penn in every race on the Schuylkill River last weekend to earn the Madeira Cup and the James Wray Memorial Trophy for the 10th straight season.

Heading into last weekend’s set of races, the first varsity boat had shown signs of struggling to find enough speed to outpace and stay with its opponents until the finish. However, after a series of weekly seat races in which multiple changes were made to the boat, the first varsity eight’s new set lineup proved to be more effective than its previous.

With the varsity eight finishing in 5:48.8, the race marked the boat’s first victory of the season as well as a victory over a higher nationally ranked crew. Additionally, the second varsity eight finished four seconds ahead of Penn with a time of 5:54.9, while the Red’s third varsity eight ended the day with a dominating win, besting the host Quakers by over 10 seconds — finishing in 6:04.4.

“Winning this weekend was a huge step for us,” Kennett said. “As a young boat, we had a huge rebuilding curve. This weekend they raced well. … If they continue to make these steps in two weeks, they can find themselves in the hunt in the Grand Final, but they need to take those actions. It is great to see them step up.”

With the heavyweights steering their way back on course and toward their end of season goals, the men’s lightweight crews once again proved that they have the fastest lightweight rowers in the country.

Sweeping all three visiting Dartmouth crews and capturing the Baggaley Bowl for the sixth straight season, the lightweights dominant performance officially secured the program’s 14th undefeated cup season and yet another successful year led by head coach Chris Kerber.

Kerber said he was very pleased with the group’s performances.

“We set out to test the capacity of a complete race, and it was good to see the results,” he said.

The lightweights’ impressive showing began early Saturday morning, with the third varsity eight finishing its 2K in 6:16.4, besting the Green by 16 seconds. Next, the first varsity eight trounced the boys from Hanover, finishing nearly 18 seconds ahead of its opponents and in a time of 5:52.9. The second varsity eight closed out the Baggaley Bowl, completing the course in a time of 6:06.9.

With two weeks off to prepare and make further seat changes before the Eastern Sprints, the lightweights hope to continue their season-long success heading into the final stretch of the season. The Red’s heavyweight counterparts hope to carry their momentum from last weekend’s Cup win over Penn to further successes in the 2017 season.