WORCESTER, Mass. – The Yale lightweight varsity crew has been crowned EARC Sprints Champions, Ivy League Champions and Jope Cup Champions after a successful day on Lake Quinsigamond. The Yale lightweight varsity eight won the Wright Cup, the lightweight second varsity eight won the Cornell Cup and the third varsity eight won bronze.
"It's all Yale today" said the sprints commentator Fred Schock as Yale's lightweight varsity eight led the field to victory for the first time since 2002. He was not wrong: Yale added plenty of new silverware to the Gilder Boathouse trophy cabinet with wins in both the lightweight varsity eight, second varsity eight and a third place in the third varsity eight which contributed to a win in the Jope Cup trophy for overall points victory.
The day began at 8:30 a.m. with the heat of the lightweight third varsity eight. Yale's 3V, ranked 3rd, finished second in a time of 6:16.8 behind Cornell University. Following this, the lightweight varsity eight stepped up to the challenge. Yale was facing current Sprints Champions Cornell University alongside Dartmouth, Georgetown and Penn. Cornell have been a formidable force for the last two seasons, however today it was Yale that were dominant winning their heat comfortably in time of 6:06.6, three seconds ahead of the second-place Cornell.
Yale's second varsity eight raced the heat at 11:00 a.m. Up against the Bulldogs were No. 3 Princeton as well as crews from M.IT. Navy and Pennsylvania. Just two weeks ago, the Bulldogs rowed through a length deficit to defeat the Tigers and there was no reason to assume today's racing would be any different. The Bulldogs, however, got off to a strong start, achieving a small margin over the Tigers. At 500m to go, Yale stepped up the pace and extended this lead, winning the heat in a time of 6:00.1, ahead of Princeton 6:02.3 over Navy, Penn and M.I.T. respectively.
This concluded the heats for the morning.
At 1:24 p.m. Yale's fourth varsity eight raced the grand final, finishing fourth and holding their seed. The 4V finished in a time of 6:20.7
The third varsity eight grand final saw Yale similarly hold its seed. The 3V raced hard and stuck with second place Cornell for most of the race. Cornell however managed to take the advantage in the final 1000m. Yale finished third, winning bronze and contributing nine points towards the Jope Cup.
Next up was the second varsity grand final. Yale entered the final boasting an 8-1 record. Cornell, however, was undefeated having beaten the Elis on their home water several weeks earlier. Off the start, Cornell had a small lead over the Bulldogs, over Princeton. The three crews remained in close contact through the 500m mark, when Yale took a move and took the advantage from the Big Red. Yale was the first to begin the charge for the line with a three-seat advantage. However, Cornell was relentless, sprinting hard and eating into the Bulldogs lead. At 300m to go, the Big Red appeared to take a small advantage over Yale. It was a final sprint by Yale that clinched first place and the Cornell Cup by 0.07 seconds over the Big Red.
Y150 Commodore and 2V stroke seat Thomas Foster spoke calmly of the second varsity eight victory: "The 2V race was a burner. Cornell took us to the line, but our guys remained calm, and we executed our race plan, and came out on top. I'm proud of every single member of that boat."
The good news was not over. Yale's first varsity eight were still to compete in the flagship event. Yale entered the Sprints undefeated and was firm favorite to win the title. Recent results however suggested that No. 2 Columbia had picked up some speed since their last encounter. Yale quickly established their dominance over the Lions and had a full-length advantage after 600m. The Bulldogs relaxed, strong, rhythm allowed them to continue building upon this lead and the 1V had managed to establish an open-water margin over the field shortly after the halfway point. A final charge by Columbia closed this gap a small amount, yet it was not enough. Yale won the race and the Wright Cup for the first time since 2002 in time of 5:43.0, over Columbia 5:45.5, over Princeton 5:46.7 over Cornell, Penn and Navy respectively.
Gabriel Roy Liguori, three-seat of the winning lightweight eight, summed up the performances of the Y150 crews: "It was an awesome day for the Y150. Every boat met or exceeded expectations. For the seniors, it was a great way to cap off our 4 years of sprints racing. The mission isn't over yet, though, so after a bit of celebrating we'll be back at it trying to win the national championship."
The results from these final races contributed enough points to win the Jope Cup. Yale won with 37 points ahead of Princeton, in second place, with 32. Yale last won the Jope Cup in 2013. Additionally, Yale's heavyweight varsity eight were also victorious in their event and this was the first time since 1979 that both crews finished first at the EARC Sprints Regatta.
Y150 Captain Austin Velte emphasized the importance of today's results, thanking his peers: "This is a legendary day for Yale rowing. I can't express how proud I am of this team. The coaches, athletes, alums and supporters everywhere all played a role in today's success. While the job is not quite finished, we've earned a day to celebrate today's results."
The Sprints marks the final races of the season that the Yale lightweight crew competes as a full squad. The varsity eight and two varsity fours will now prepare for the IRA National Championship Regatta.
Full results can be found here.
First Varsity Eight: Bow - Dughan Ahimovic, 2 - Brendan Kelleher, 3 - Gabriel Roy Liguori, 4 - Austin Velte, 5 - William Van Fossen, 6 - Aaron Jones, 7 - William Harrington, Stroke - Matthew Segal, Coxswain –Eli Block
Second Varsity: Bow – Kevin Koste, 2 – Nicholas Sauder, 3 – Nicholas Matthes, 4 – Matthew Matejka, 5 – Alexander George, 6 – Hubert Simpson, 7 – Noah Baily, Stroke – Thomas Foster, Coxswain - Ashley Wu
Third Varsity: Bow – Pavle Krivokapic, 2 – Raymond O'Mahony, 3 –, Nicolai Parks 4 – Louis Abrassard, 5 –Eric Esposito, 6 – Jordan Young, 7 – Matthew Jones, Stroke – Nathaniel Howe, Coxswain – Ihna Mangundayao
Fourth Varsity: Bow – Chris King, 2 – Alexander Herkert, 3 – Adam Strauss, 4 – Dylan Gastel, 5 – James Barile, 6 – Harrison Schneider, 7 – Alex Vidal, Stroke – Simon Sharp, Coxswain – Catalina Chernavvsky Sequeira
Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity