April 12, 2012

Heavyweights Seek to Defend Blackwell Cup

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale heavyweight crew team will travel to New Jersey this weekend in hopes of defending the Blackwell Cup against Columbia and Penn.  The Bulldogs are coming off two wins against Ivy League opponents, Brown and Dartmouth, but will see two more teams on each of the next two weekends, starting with the Lions and the Quakers this Saturday.  Racing will be held on Columbia's new racecourse at Overpeck Park in Teaneck, N.J.

Last year the races between Columbia, Penn and Yale almost didn't happen due to deteriorating weather conditions.  Racing on the Housatonic, the varsity eight event was moved from last to first in the schedule so that the Blackwell Cup could still be awarded.  The Bulldogs defended their home course despite the tough conditions, clocking in at 6:22.9 with open water back to Penn (6:35.4) and Columbia (6:47.3).  The second varsity eights showed the same pattern, with Yale posting a time of 6:41.0, followed by Penn (7:16.1) in second and Columbia (7:56.1) in third.

The order of events for this Saturday is as follows:

1F – 9:30 a.m.

2V – 10:00 a.m.

1V – 10:30 a.m.

Columbia and Penn both raced last weekend for the Childs Cup, and both teams had to give their shirts to Princeton.  In the varsity eight Princeton won with a time of 6:27.3, more than 13 seconds ahead of Penn.  Columbia closed up the margin on Penn as they approached the finish line, but still finished 1.9 seconds back on the Quakers.  The story was the same in the freshman eight race; the Tigers took the Quakers by 12 seconds with another two seconds back to the Lions.

The Blackwell Cup, one of rowing's biggest trophies, is awarded in honor of George Engs Blackwell, an 1880 graduate of Columbia.  Since Columbia, Penn and Yale started racing for the cup in 1927, Yale has won the most with a total of 39 times, including last year when the Bulldogs defended their home course on the Housatonic River.  In recent years Penn and Yale have traded the trophy back and forth almost exclusively, up until 2008 when Columbia won for the first time in 67 years.  The Bulldogs have retained the Blackwell Cup in each of the two years since the Class of 2012 has stepped up to the varsity squad, and this Saturday the seniors will look to lead the team to victory and make it three for three.

Directions to the new racecourse at Overpeck Park can be found here on the Columbia Athletics Website.

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity