Elis Retain Johnson Cup

Yale 1V (Photo courtesy of Catherine Foster)

PRINCETON, N.J. — Yale lightweight crew started the season promisingly Saturday by winning three out of four races against Navy. Battling tough conditions, all crews rowed complete pieces against resilient Navy opposition. Wins in the first freshman and the second varsity eights were followed by success in the first varsity eight, securing Yale the Johnson Cup for a fourth straight year.

The first race of the day was the third varsity eight, in which the Elis faced off against two Navy entries. After a strong start, the Bulldogs rowed a steady first thousand meters, maintaining contact with two powerful Navy crews. As conditions worsened after the halfway mark, the Bulldogs fell off the pace— rowing well, but finishing a few lengths behind the leading crew.

Next, the first freshman eight took to the course in their first collegiate spring race. The Bulldogs jumped out at the start, earning a half-length lead over the Midshipmen early in the race. Slowly extending their lead, the Bulldogs opened up a bow-to-stern advantage. Navy then hit their stride, showing resolve as they clung onto the Bulldogs for the rest of the race. The young Bulldogs remained calm, however, and held their lead to the finish.

The second varsity eight was next. Similar to the previous race, the Elis used a powerful start to open up a length lead over the Midshipmen. Both crews handled the deteriorating conditions well, as neither crew was able to improve their position. Yale clung onto their early lead to finish a length ahead of Navy. 

The last race of the day was the first varsity eight. Yale used a strong start to establish their rhythm, which enabled them to move out to a significant early lead against a tough Navy crew. The Midshipmen did not give up, battling the Bulldogs down the course. The Bulldogs were up to the challenge, retaining their slight open water advantage to the finish.

Victory in the first varsity extends Yale's lead in the Johnson Cup to seven to four. The regatta also provided crews with a first opportunity to test their speed against league opposition. The lightweights are back in action at home next Saturday, April 5, against Georgetown. 

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity