At the 115th IRA Regatta in Gold River, Calif. the Cornell men’s lightweight crew squad earned a first place finish, capping off an excellent season which saw the top varsity boat go undefeated.
Over the last four years, the team has been undefeated in three seasons, winning three national titles in the process. With the 2017 title, the team is experiencing its best stretch since winning three titles from 2006-08.
“I am particularly happy for the senior class and all the athletes on the squad — working for and leaving a very sweet legacy,” said head coach Chris Kerber.
The lightweights have won the IRA title in six of the last 11 seasons, and seven times overall since the event was added in 1990.
In the race, the Red led after a close start, but by the 500-meter mark, Cornell and Penn were ahead of the rest of the field by two-thirds of a boat length. By the halfway point, Cornell’s lead had extended to seven seats. The Red held off a burst by the Quakers near the end of the race to win by three seats in a speedy time of 5:40.172.
Penn got silver with 5:41.087 and Yale took the bronze in 5:43.072, barely edging Harvard (5:43.321) at the finish line. Princeton, finishing with a time of 5:45.778, and Columbia (5:45.976) rounded out the field.
In the other lightweight races, the coxswain-less varsity four got bronze in the Grand Final, finishing behind crews from Harvard and Princeton, while the varsity four got third in the Petite Final.
Despite the undefeated year, Kerber noted the tough competition the team went through en route to the championship, surely to continue in the coming years.
“On the competitive side it was an extra tight year in the league — all the perennial leaders of the league we fielding very strong crews and some daft crews that were able to upset some of the traditional power houses in the regular season dual races,” he said. “This competitive aspect and parity among the league teams provide a lot of opportunity for all teams year after year. It is refreshing but brings out the best in all of us.”