Season Preview: Porter Sees A Fire In His Young Bulldogs

Varsity eight (Tim Bennett photo)

Yale Opens Season Saturday Against Penn/Columbia

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Like every season, 2013 will present challenges for the Yale women's crew. The biggest one is there are only four seniors on the roster, making it one of the youngest teams in head coach Will Porter's long tenure.

Porter, though, is never one to make excuses - or allow his team to.

"I do not care how young this team is," he said. "They can race hard just like anyone else. The expectations of the program, of the alumnae, the team do not get lowered because athletes are young. The idea is for athletes to rise up to the challenge and meet the standard that has been set. This is Yale. The reason these athletes came here is because the standards are high. That's what they like."

As a result, Porter expects the Bulldogs to be a serious contender for the Ivy League title and earn a berth in the NCAA Championship, just like the team has for each of the last 11 years.

Porter also realizes there is work to be done.

"Every press release I read about other teams says they are going faster than ever, having the best winter ever, with more scores under seven minutes than ever," he said. "We are not faster than we have ever been, and we do not have more scores under seven than ever before. But we do have a fire. We just have to see how hot it will burn."

The Bulldogs, who were ranked 11th in the nation in the CRCA/USRowing preseason coaches poll, return 16 rowers that went to the NCAA Championship last spring, helping Yale to a 10th place finish. Yale has now had a top-10 finish at the NCAAs in 10 of the last 11 years.

Porter's message to the team remains the same.

"He tells us to go as fast as we can," said Eliza Hastings, the team captain. "That was our focus in the winter and it continues to be our focus on the water."

That focus is what Hastings says will be the key to another successful season.

"It is important that the team stays dialed in," she said.  "We will use our work ethic to keep finding speed on the water every day. We have been preparing for the racing season all year so it's also important to enjoy the ride."

The Bulldogs open the season competing for the Connell Cup against Penn and Columbia on Saturday in Philadelphia. Racing gets under way at 10 a.m.

While Porter would like to see his team get off to a quick start, he knows to keep the early-season results in perspective.

""It is not how fast we are in March. It is how fast we are two months later in late May that matters," he said.

YaleTentative Boatings

Varsity Eight: 1. Maddie Lips, 2. Eliza Hastings, 3. Emily Tormey, 4. Claire Tolson, 5. Kim Szokol, 6. Colleen Maher, 7. Nina Demmerle, 8. Natalie King, coxswain: Christine Devlin

Second Varsity Eight: 1. Kristjana Gudmundsson, 2. Abby Loucks, 3. Elizabeth Vincent, 4. Kristina Wagner, 5. Abbie Young, 6. Amber Anderson, 7. Martha Cosgrove, 8. Madeline Dinse, coxswain: Kristen Brownlee

Varsity Four: 1. Mieke Scherpbier, 2. Natalie Lapides, 3. Juliet Caragianis, 4. Jen Stockwood, coxswain: Margaret Ayers

Second Varsity Four: 1. Kara Freeman, 2. Brit Sharon, 3. Mimi Reichenbach, 4. Amina Edwards, coxswain: Laura Grimbergen

Third Varsity Eight: 1. Sarah Weil, 2. Sabrina Malak, 3. Jane Cozey, 4. Emily Diana, 5. Mary Farner, 6. Emma Hammarlund, 7. Christine Tsai, 8. Kendall Chapin, coxswain: Emily Cline

Tentative Connell Cup Schedule Of Events

10 a.m. – Second Varsity Four
10:15 a.m. – Varsity Four
10:30 a.m. - 2nd Varsity Eight
10:45 a.m. – Varsity Eight
11 a m  - Third Varsity Eight

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity