May 20, 2006
The Yale men's lightweight crew team will row at tomorrow's Eastern Sprints with more than just rowing on their minds. The Bulldogs will compete in Sunday's regatta only days after the tragic loss of teammate Alexander Capelutto.
Capelutto, who joined the lightweight team this year after rowing as a heavyweight his freshman year, died in a collision with a truck Thursday morning while cycling from Gilder Boathouse back to campus. He was remembered fondly by teammates and friends on Thursday afternoon at a memorial service. Later, his father sent a message to the lightweight team urging them to fight hard at Sprints.
Needless to say, the Bulldogs will be heeding Capelutto's father's advice. Head Coach Andy Card's team will face off against the strongest crews on the east coast all day tomorrow. Yale will enter five boats in tomorrow's Sprints, and all five are seeded in the top five in the latest EARC poll.
The Yale varsity eight will be seeing a lot of familiar faces as they try to improve on last year's silver medal performance including Ivy rivals Harvard and Princeton, and top-seeded Navy, who Yale beat to win its first Johnson Cup this year. Stroked by David Werner, the varsity boat also has a chance to avenge its only two losses of its dual race season to Rutgers and Dartmouth. But Coach Card is aware of the time that all teams have to prepare between the end of the dual race season and the beginning of the championship season.
"Though we know these teams a little bit, they also know us, too," Card said. "Everyone gets faster through the year, and the most important thing is who made the biggest improvement in speed."
But the Bulldogs are also looking for depth at this year's Sprints. Last year, Yale missed out on medals in both the third varsity eight and the first freshman eight, finishing fourth in both.
"The team still has its goals aimed high," Card said. "We want to win five medals, band to make as many of them gold as we can, and to win the Jope Cup for overall team supremacy."
Racing will begin at Lake Quinsigamond at 8 am Sunday morning. For more information on the regatta including race schedules and live results, visit the EARC Sprints website.
Report filed by Jamie Cordes '07, Yale Sports Publicity