It was a competitive day for the Ivy League on Saturday, when the men’s lightweight and heavyweight crew teams from Cornell, Harvard and Penn all met in Ithaca, NY for the Matthews & Leonard Cups. The Crimson sent three varsity eights and two freshmen boats and finished each division in first or second place.
“I was really pleased with this weekend overall for the team,” captain Zander Bonorris said. “I think that as far as the second weekend of racing goes, this was another really solid step in the right direction.”
Bonorris raced the first varsity eight, but sophomore teammate Cameron Clemence, on second varsity, echoed this sentiment.
“I felt that the team performed well today,” he said. “All of the races were very close, with all the boats finishing less than a length apart.”
Harvard finished on top in the second varsity eight as well as both freshmen boats. The standout performance was the second varsity, which beat Cornell by over three seconds with a time of 6 minutes, 3.7 seconds.
“They pushed away from Cornell 800m into the race to give themselves a lead that Cornell was unable to come back from,” Clemence said.
This was also the first win for the second freshmen boat, which finished at a time of 6:40.2.
“I would say the strength of the Crimson on the water was in the attention to detail,” Bonorris said. “All the crews in the league are fit and strong and so the crews that find extra speed in their technical precision are the ones that ultimately stand out.”
The first varsity boat fell to second place with a time of 5:54.2, over a full second behind the Big Red.
“The goal this weekend going into the regatta was to race hard and well,” Bonorris said. “We wanted to see if we could get a little more out of each stroke, squeeze a little more out of the oar into the water, building just a fraction more speed each stroke.”
Cornell took first place in both third varsity and the varsity four, in which Harvard did not compete. Penn finished in third for the first varsity eight at a time of 6:08.7, more than 13 seconds behind the Crimson. They also fell to last place with the four boats and both freshmen races.
Heavyweight crew went head-to-head with Cornell in a duel race on Saturday. The Harvard first and second varsity eight boats took first place with a time of 5:37.4, three seconds ahead of Cornell in the first eight, and a time of 5:47.1, six seconds ahead of the Big Red for second. The Crimson took a big win in the freshman eight with a time of 5:49.1, eight seconds ahead of Cornell.
This was a good weekend for Ivy League racing, but Clemence warns that there is more to come.
“The other Ivy League crews such as Princeton and Yale have performed well in all their races to date,” he said. “I think we’ll need to build on this week’s performance and continue making the necessary improvements on the water.”
With its second weekend of its spring season over, Harvard looks keep improving as it progresses through its racing schedule.
“In the next few weeks a lot of Ivy League teams will be racing one another and a bit of a hierarchy will begin to form,” Bonorris said. “This is exciting and motivating, and it is important to remember that we are all looking forward to the end goal, which is the championship races. Week by week we look to improve and put in good results, all for the goal of the championship races.”
—Staff writer Tanner Skenderian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.