March 23, 2010

Fresh Off Training Camp, Yale Ready to Tackle Spring Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn- Yale’s spring racing season officially kicks off on Apr. 3 when the Bulldogs face Ivy League rivals Brown. This first dual race marks the end of a successful period of winter training, the completion of a two-week spring training camp, and the beginning of four straight weeks of cup races in preparation for Eastern Sprints on May 16th. This season will feature three home races for Yale and one away, along with the customary Eastern Sprints, IRA Regatta and Yale-Harvard Regatta.

The Bulldogs, fresh off two weeks of training at the Gilder Boathouse, are confident that the time and energy they have put in over the past months will pay off as they head into racing season. Captain Lucas Spielfogel and the six other members of the class of 2010 lead the Bulldogs in their sprint season.

“Spring break in New Haven was incredibly productive. Though we still have much work to do over the next months, I believe that we’ve put ourselves in a favorable position as we approach the dual season,” said Spielfogel. “As this will be our last racing season, the class of 2010 looks to make it our best.”

Head Coach John Pescatore echoed these remarks:

"Strong athlete leadership has inspired intense and purposeful fall and winter training that will shape Yale’s performance this season. Five sophomores earning Varsity eight racing time in the fall regattas has also contributed to an early escalation of competition in the erg room.”

Pescatore, now in his eighth year as head coach of the Bulldogs, went on to say:

“A demanding race schedule begins in early April: six Ivy League opponents prior to the Eastern Sprints. Each contest will provide an opportunity to test ourselves against first-class competition and ultimately help us prepare for the championship regattas." 

Last year’s encounter with Brown in Providence, R.I., left the Bulldogs empty-handed. The Bears swept all three races: varsity, second varsity and freshman. Yale will race Brown in four events this year: the varsity, second varsity, third varsity and freshman eights.

Of the upcoming Brown race, Spielfogel noted, “There’s no question Brown will be fast. However, history means nothing to us. We will look to beat them.”

Following Brown, the Bulldogs will face Dartmouth in defense of the Olympic Axe on Apr. 10. Yale cruised to wins over Dartmouth at last year’s meeting to ensure that the Olympic Axe stays at Gilder Boathouse for another year. The Bulldogs look to extend that stay for another year.

Then, on Apr. 17, Yale will head down to Philadelphia to face Columbia and Penn in search of the Blackwell Cup. At last year’s regatta, the Bulldogs won three out of four races (second varsity, third varsity and freshman) on Columbia’s racecourse, but fell in the varsity eight to miss reclaiming the Blackwell Cup. That day, the Columbia varsity crossed the line 2.8 seconds before Yale. This year’s varsity will no doubt have that race in the back of their minds when they line up again this year.

The Bulldogs’ toughest test of the cup season will come on Apr. 24 when Yale hosts Princeton and Cornell for the Carnegie Cup. The Carnegie Cup is Yale’s last dual race until the Yale-Harvard Regatta on May 29. Last year, the freshman eight took first place over Cornell and Princeton. The varsity eight finished second, behind Cornell and ahead of Princeton. The second varsity took third behind the two Ivy rivals and the third varsity finished second behind Cornell. Cornell took possession of the trophy in what proved to be another competitive regatta. Yale, Princeton and Cornell have each held the trophy in the last three years.

After the Carnegie Cup and three weeks of training and preparation, the Bulldogs will line up at Eastern Sprints on May 16. Eastern Sprints serves as a de facto Ivy League Championship and helps build momentum for the three-day IRA Regatta that begins on June 5. At IRAs, Yale will face top teams from throughout the nation in what has become collegiate rowing’s national championship.

In between the two, for the first time in recent memory, the Bulldogs square off against Harvard in the 145th installment of the Yale-Harvard Regatta on May 29, America’s oldest collegiate athletic competition. The annual regatta held in New London, Conn., normally takes place after the IRA Regatta. This year, however, Yale and Harvard crews will have to go from racing 2,000 meters at Eastern Sprints, to racing two, three or four miles in New London, and back to 2,000 meters at the IRA—all in a three-week period.

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity. 

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