DERBY, Conn. -- It was a successful day of racing for the Yale lightweights on Sunday, as they were victorious in the varsity eight at the Princeton Chase for the first time in five years. It was a promising regatta for the team all round, with strong performances across the ranks. The result means that the crew ends the fall racing season on a high-- which will serve as encouragement for the upcoming months away from competition.
The first race of the day was the men's lightweight eight, in which the Elis entered three boats. The first eight started second behind Harvard 'A' and in front of Princeton 'A'. The eight executed a strong start to settle into rhythm and push away from Princeton, passing the Crimson by the halfway point. They continued the charge down the course, crossing first in 13:05.7. This put them 2 seconds ahead of the fastest heavyweight crew and 15 seconds ahead of the second-placed lightweight crew, Princeton 'A'.
The Yale 'B' boat also performed well, establishing their speed early to catch top-seed Harvard by the finish. They were edged out Cornell B, finishing 7th overall, ahead of many 'A' boats in an impressive 13:51.9. The race represents a promising performance for the crew in its first competitive encounter this season. Yale's 'C' boat also clocked a good time, passing Dartmouth 'B' on their way to a 24th place finish in 15:05.
The freshman took to the water next in the mens freshman eight event. The crew battled tough competition in the form of both lightweights and heavyweights, from the EARC and beyond. Starting 16th, they hung tough to finish 10th in the event, fifth among lightweights and just a second behind Harvard's 1F.
Next up was the lightweight four; the Bulldogs entered four boats, consisting of rowers from the 'A' and 'B' eights. Yale's 'A' entry started second behind Harvard 'A,' and despite a well-orchestrated effort, they were unable to catch them. They continued to row well, finishing second behind Harvard in 14:49.5. Yale's 'B' entry also had a good piece, finishing fourth just under 5 seconds back. Yale 'C' finished 10th, and Yale 'D' was 21st.
Lastly, freshman Eric Esposito won the single in the small boats event to end the day on a high note. Esposito, who finished fifth in the mens club single at the Head of the Charles a week ago, beat the next fastest entry by 10 seconds.
Captain Matthew O'Donoghue was satisfied after a successful regatta.
"The team performed really well, the boats were able to have complete pieces and were happy with how they threw down," O'Donoghue said. "This is exactly how we wanted to end the fall and head into winter training."
O'Donoghue also acknowledged that a great deal was left to be done, and stressed the need for cautious optimism regarding the day's events.
"We know that the spring is what really counts, so we'll be working towards that," he said.
The lightweights now head back to Derby for several months of training before their spring season opener against Navy on March 29th. The freshmen have one more race next weekend-- the Green Monster-- before they wrap up their fall seasons.
Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity