This weekend, all four of Harvard’s crews will take to the water to battle opponents in a full slate of competitive racing.
In the case of the No. 13 ranked men’s lightweight crew, this weekend’s races will mark the beginning of the spring dual season. After strong performances at the National Championships last year, in which the second-ranked Crimson took the overall team’s points title and the varsity with no coxswain gold medal, the rowers of Harvard will take on Cornell and Penn on Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y. They will then plunge their oars into the Charles on Sunday for a matchup against Columbia and Georgetown. Cornell, in particular, will come to the line as defending national champions.
“I respect the teams and you never want to underestimate your opponents, especially in the lightweight league where everything is so tight,” Dupuis said. “The races themselves can be won over seats, so you always have to bring your A-game to every single race. The lightweight league is always competitive almost among all the boats, so we have to be performing at the highest level.”
Especially after an intensive winter and spring training campaign, the lightweight rowers will be raring to get off the line in a competitive atmosphere.
“All the hard work from the fall and winter builds for the spring, so I think everyone on the team is exciting to get racing,” Dupuis said. “That’s why we do this whole thing, so I think all the boats are really excited to show off the work that they’ve put in over the many, many months.”
Meanwhile, the No. 6 women’s lightweight crew team will look to rebound after last weekend’s losses, in which the team was upended by both No. 8 Georgetown and Bates. Radcliffe fell in all three varsity races as the Hoyas captured the Class of 2004 Cup.
This Saturday, the Black and White will take on Princeton at Lake Carnegie in New Jersey in which the Class of 1999 Cup will be on the line. The waters will splash with the oars from crews of seven of the Ivy League programs Last year on the Charles, Radcliffe’s first varsity boat edged the Tiger’s crew by a mere 1.7 seconds.
At the same time, the men’s heavyweight program will be traveling to Providence, R.I., to battle Brown after easing past Cornell and George Washington last weekend, including a finish in the varsity eight that was 10 seconds faster than the rest of the field’s. The Bears enter the contest after conceding the Albert Cup to Yale last weekend.
More class cups will be on the line for the No. 16 Radcliffe heavyweight crew. After being edged by Brown by three seconds in the varsity eight last weekend, the team will join its lightweight counterparts on Lake Carnegie and will vie for the Class of 1975 Cup in the morning against Princeton and Cornell and then return to the water in the afternoon to try to capture the Class of 1984 Plaque against Princeton, Dartmouth, and Penn. The Tigers enter the races as favorites after winning the Class of 1975 Cup the past four years and maintaining a perfect record in the Class of 1984 Plaque.
Sophomore coxswain Katherine Paglione said that the team is focused on the technical workings of its stroke going into the races on Saturday. Paglione said that the team will focus on each race individually and will not think too much about the class cups.
“We’re focusing purely on that first race against Princeton and Cornell and once we get that result, we move on to the next,” Paglione said. “So, one piece at a time, and then one thing leading up before the race is how we’re going about it.”
The confluence of many Ivy League teams early in the season also provides a unique opportunity for the crew and will guarantee a week of intense rivalry across the conference.
“There’s going to be a lot of things to watch, a lot of things to distract you from what you’re trying to do, so I think how our team goes about it, we don’t mention the race is this cup or that cup,” Paglione said. “We’re just trying to get the best margins we can and the best results we can against the teams. So for us, it feels like another race, but it will be a challenge to keep our heads in the boat and focus on what we need to do because it’s almost a mini championship in that way midway through the season.”
—Staff writer Leon K. Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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