Bulldogs Race Well But Come Up Short
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A gorgeous day on the Thames River with a tail wind and an incoming tide set the stage for the 149th Yale- Harvard Regatta. Yale and Harvard both came into the day with undefeated regular seasons, but it was Harvard that prevailed in the end.
Yale finished the varsity race 14.3 seconds behind Harvard with a time of 19:46.8, which was 55 seconds faster than the Bulldogs' time in last year's upstream race. Harvard crossed the finish line in 19:32.5.
"After a loss, it's gut-wrenching. And if we step back for a moment and we think in this boat there were four sophomores and two freshmen… I thought they managed the racecourse as well as they could," said Yale coach Steve Gladstone. "They didn't over stroke, they didn't go nuts and they held in that first two miles and executed, and very simply Harvard was more efficient."
Both teams were racing in German-made Empacher shells with coaches, judges, committee and media following closely behind in other boats. Spectators lined the rocks, beaches, and docks, to watch the oldest intercollegiate sporting event.
For Yale stroke Peter Tortora, this was his first experience at the Yale- Harvard Regatta, and it came in the varsity boat.
"I have never been in a boat with this much power in my entire life and it has been extremely fun," said Tortora, a Fairfield, Conn., native.
Tortora was a lightweight last year, took the fall off, and then moved into the heavyweight third varsity at the start of the season. Over the past few weeks, the sophomore has slowly climbed the Yale crew ranks and found himself in the varsity boat for Yale's most prestigious boat race.
"I think we held our composure really well," reflected Tortora. "From what I've heard in the past, Yale's had a little trouble hanging with Harvard and we did a phenomenal job hanging with Harvard through the first two miles."
The closest race of the day was also the first race of the day. The Crimson edged out the Eli third varsity 9:19.3 to 9:22.5 in the 2-mile competition.
In the JV, 3-mile race, Harvard defeated Yale by a slightly more comfortable 4-length margin, 14:16.0 to 14:33.2.
Gladstone's recruiting has begun to produce, the Bulldogs had not lost a dual or three-team regatta until today.
"All in all, losing is really unpleasant but I thought our varsity raced a very solid race," said Gladstone, whose boats had a tailwind and an incoming tide helping today.
H: 9:19.3; Y: 9:22.5
H: 14:16.0; Y: 14:33.2
H: 19:32.5; Y: 19:46.8
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Filed by Josh Hess, Yale Sports Publicity
Varsity boat image by Steve Fritzer