Elis Second at Sprints

(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)

WORCESTER, Mass.— It was a successful day on Lake Quinsigamond for the Y150, as all crews clocked strong performances and improved on their seedings. The Yale third varsity eight got things underway with a silver medal finish, a performance that was followed by a silver medal in the first varsity eight. The results put Yale in contention to win a third straight Jope Cup, but Cornell's victory in the first varsity edged the Big Red narrowly ahead of the second place Bulldogs. 

Sunday morning began with qualifying heats for all crews, except the first freshmen eight.

The third varsity was the first crew to take to the course, with an 8:36 a.m. heat. The crew used a quick start to get out ahead of the field; the Elis held their lead to the 1000 meter mark, until Columbia used a powerful moved to push its bow ball into the lead. The Lions then continued to move out on the field. The Elis then mounted a move with 600 meters remaining: cutting into the Lions' lead. Cornell's third varsity went with the Bulldogs, as both crews passed Columbia. Cornell ultimately edged Yale to the line by 1.4 seconds, with Columbia 0.6 seconds back. 

The first varsity followed with a 10:00 a.m. heat. Facing No.1 Cornell— undefeated coming into the Sprints— the Elis started strongly: edging out to a four-seat lead by the 500 meter mark. Cornell then moved back into Yale, and moved through to a five-seat lead by the halfway point. The margin remained unchanged as the crews approached the finish. The first varsity clocked the second fastest time in the heat, edging the winner of the second heat, Princeton, by 0.5 seconds.

The second varsity had a promising start in its heat. Facing an undefeated Princeton crew, the Bulldogs showed no fear— hanging tough with the Tigers all the way down the course. The Elis clung to Princeton, finishing just 0.7 seconds back. Cornell was the third boat to qualify for the afternoon's grand final. 

After encouraging performances in the heats, the Bulldogs entered the finals with confidence. 

The third varsity got the finals underway, looking to improve on its earlier performance in the heat. The Elis again used a fast opening 500 meters to edge out on the field. As in the heat, Columbia moved with the Elis as both crews opened up a significant lead on the field. At the 1000 meter mark, the Lions edged out on Yale— while Cornell and Harvard used pushes to move into the Elis. Yale proved resilient: sprinting from the 600 meter mark to hold off strong challenges from both crews. The Bulldogs finished second in 5:57.827, just under two seconds behind Columbia and 0.5 seconds ahead of Cornell.

The first freshmen eight was next, racing in a final-only event. The new lineup of primarily novice oarsmen came together in a short period, clocking a strong performance against much more experienced crews. The Elis showed determination and character, finishing fifth.

The second varsity was next in a 4:06 p.m. grand final. The Elis took an early lead over a competitive field, edging Princeton and Columbia to the 500 meter mark. Columbia then pushed into the lead. With the Elis locked in a battle for second with Princeton and Cornell, the Lions continued to push away at the halfway mark. Yale hung tough against Princeton and Cornell, but ultimately fell short of the medals, despite a strong effort in the closing stages. 

The last race of the day was the first varsity eight. After a second place finish in the morning's heat, the Bulldogs were determined to improve on their No. 4 seed. Yale led in the early going: starting strongly to open up a half length lead on Cornell, and a full length lead on Columbia and Princeton going into the second 500 meters. Battling for first, Yale and Cornell pulled away from the pack. Cornell used a steady middle thousand to move out on the Elis, and held a six-seat advantage going into the last 500 meters. The Bulldogs began to eat into Cornell's lead, but fell just short of victory by 0.9 seconds. The Bulldogs posted an impressive time, however, crossing the line in 5:40.349. Princeton finished third in 5:41.608, with Columbia fourth, 0.2 seconds back. 

Captain and four-seat of the first varsity eight Matthew O'Donoghue was happy with the day's racing, and the spirit showed by the team.

"I'm really proud of the team's effort this weekend," O'Donoghue said. "We fought hard all the way down the course."

O'Donoghue continued: "we approached the piece with a good mindset and executed well. We didn't achieve everything we set out to, but it was a strong day nonetheless."

The Bulldogs close out their spring season in two weeks, with the IRA National Championships in Mercer, N.J. 

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity 

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