Elis Leave No Doubt in Grand Victory
WEST WINDSOR, NJ – The Bulldogs ended 11 years of Western dominance at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta by capturing the national title last year in California. After winning today's IRA grand final on Mercer Lake, the Yale Heavyweight Varsity Eight made it two straight national championships.
The Elis, the best of the East after capturing their fourth straight EARC title three weeks ago today, won by more than a length over No. 1 seed Washington. Yale crossed the line at 6:01.648, followed by Washington (6:04.337), California (6:08.911), Harvard (6:10.717), Princeton (6:11.161), and Brown (6:14.272).
Though all crews faced rough conditions at the start, Yale managed to pull out to an early lead with Washington and Harvard trailing close behind. As Harvard slipped back at the 1000, it was Yale and Washington out in front. Despite a charge from Washington around the 1250 mark, Yale responded definitively and won by almost three seconds.
Captain Paul Jacquot '18, who sat in the four seat, said that since the race had been moved up he knew there would be tough conditions and a headwind. "We were ready for it having trained in such conditions both at Gilder and the Ferry. We were excited about it actually. We had a really good start that put us a seat up on Washington and once we settled, we just started walking away."
Today's race served as the first between Yale and Washington since Yale's 0.069 IRA victory last year. Yale knew Washington would be strong competitors. Head Coach Steve Gladstone said, "speculation is inevitable, the mind goes there, and you just have to put it away. You just race the race and do what you do in practice every day."
When asked how he would describe this year's varsity crew, Gladstone said, "any team that wins a championship is aggressive. But this crew is consistent. I feel enormously proud, thankful, and grateful that these young men had the opportunity to do what they did here today."
Today's victory marks Gladstone's 13th IRA national title as a head coach. As the most successful rowing coach of the modern era, Gladstone is now one national title shy of tying the record owned by Charles Courtney, who coached Cornell from 1883 to 1920 and won 14 national titles.
Vlad Saigau '21, the first-year varsity coxswain, said, "the aim was to execute the same race we have put out before. We expected other crews to be with us but at the 500, I looked and no one was there, which gave us a bit of confidence. We wanted to be long and set our rate at 36, while Washington was up at 39. With these conditions, our length served us well."
Following the varsity victory, Yale's 2V too secured a podium spot by winning bronze. With Washington and California out in front, Yale raced comfortably in third for much of the race. Last Year, the 2V missed the podium by 0.047 seconds to Princeton.
In Yale's final race of the day, the 3V finished fourth behind Washington, Harvard, and California. Interestingly, this was the same top four finishers, in this order, from last year's grand final.
Though Yale takes home the national title, Washington remains the Ten Eyck Team Champions with 211 points. Yale came in seconds at 199 points, and California followed in third with 196 points.
While the IRA National Championships conclude the official season for most of the competitors, both Yale and Harvard head back to New London in preparation for the Yale-Harvard Regatta. The 153rd edition of the Yale-Harvard Regatta takes place Saturday, June 9.
Today's championship racing can be viewed by clicking here.
Cox. Vlad Saigau
6. Cole Tilden
4. Paul Jacquot
3. Thomas Beck
2. Thomas Digby
1. Jack Lopas
Cox. Woods Connell
Cox. Thomas Fant
8. Garth Holdon
4. Will Powers
3. Daire Lynch
By Izak Epstein '19, Sports Publicty Assistant. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.