Bulldogs Capture Second Straight Sprints, Ivy League Title; Win Charles Willing Team Trophy

The Bulldogs raise the Ivy League trophy. (Tim Bennett photo)

Varsity Eight Edges Princeton By Less Than Second

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CHERRY HILL, N.J. – The path may have been a little more difficult than in recent years, but the end result was just as sweet for the Yale women's crew. Yale's varsity eight captured the Eastern Sprints and Ivy League titles for the fourth time in the last six years, winning a thrilling grand final by less than a second over second-place Princeton. The Bulldogs came in at 6:20.155, just ahead of the Tigers, who finished in 6:20.932.

The victory capped another outstanding day on the Cooper River for Yale, which won the Charles Willing Team Trophy for overall supremacy for the second straight year and the third time in the last four years. All five Yale boats that competed at Sprints earned a medal.

“The team worked very, very hard to accomplish what we accomplished today,” said Yale head coach Will Porter. “To win the overall points trophy is amazing because of the adversity we've had to deal with this year. This has certainly been one of the most challenging years we've had,”

The Bulldogs, who won the Willing Trophy for the fifth time in school history, had to overcome difficult weather conditions early in the season that nearly flooded Gilder Boathouse, a stomach virus that went through the team prior to the races at Cornell and a number of injuries in the lower boats.

“I'm extremely proud of all our boats,” said captain Taylor Ritzel.

Yale's varsity eight had finished nearly seven seconds behind Princeton on Apr. 17 during the regular season race. The Bulldogs, though, worked hard on improving their start, which helped make up the difference.

“Princeton is always so dynamic out of the gate that we knew we had to be with them to have a chance,” Porter said.

Yale had the lead for most of the race but never by more than a few seats.

“We had a lot of fun and raced with freedom. That's what [coach Porter] always says,” said coxswain Mia Kanak. “We stayed focused on our strokes and really trusted each other.”

Joining Kanak and Ritzel in the boat for the Bulldogs were Dara Dickson, Stephanie Madner, Catherine Hart, Caroline Nash, Maren McCrea, Alice Henly and Tess Gerrand.

Brown finished third, nearly 11 seconds behind Yale. Dartmouth was fourth followed by Penn and Cornell.

In the second varsity eight grand final, the Bulldogs finished third with a time of 6:44.518. Princeton won in 6:35.998, followed by Brown at 6:40.798.

In the boat for Yale was Catherine McDermott, Mary Jo Toothman, Kathryn D'Andrea, Natalie King, Armine Afeyan, Kathleen O'Keefe, Allix Wilde, Eliza Hastings and coxswain Sarah Brownlee.

“Our second varsity is very young. There are three freshmen and four sophomores in the boat. For them to medal at Sprints is one heck of an experience,” Porter said. “I've been very hard on them, but they are very talented and can handle it.”

Yale's varsity four of Amanda Grady, Alexandra Fields, Elizabeth McDermott, Mary Pat Wixted and coxswain Erica Segall finished second to Brown. The Bears came in at 7:10.852, nearly eight seconds faster than the Bulldogs.

In the third varsity eight, Yale placed second with a time of 6:50.321. Brown won in 6:45.331.
 
In the boat for Yale was Brittany Bowman, Ryan McCarthy, Melissa Weigel, Lauren Ross, Emily Tormey, Lily Blair, Mary Barrosse-Antle, Katherine Dyke and coxswain Margaret Ayers.
 
Yale's second varsity four of Laura Gottesdiener, Julia Jolliffe, Nikki Grigg, Georgia Separovich and coxswain Yassmin Parsaei also finished second with a time of 7:34.162. Brown won in 7:30.527.
 
“There are a lot of people who contribute to our success,” Porter said. “My assistant coaches Kate Maloney and Jamie Snider do a great job. I believe we have the best trainer in the country in Dave Dinapoli, and our strength coach Joe Maher has been terrific.”
 
The Bulldogs will next compete at the NCAA Championships on May 28-30. The 16-team field will be announced on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity