WEST WINDSOR, N.J.— It was a tough day of racing for the lightweights Sunday, as the varsity eight finished fourth at the IRA National Championships. The day started promisingly after the boat won its morning heat, but this momentum did not carry over to the final as the Elis found themselves off the pace. The race brings to an end the Bulldogs' spring season.
Racing got underway with the varsity eight's heat against Dartmouth, MIT, and Princeton. The Elis started strongly, pushing out to a length lead on the field by the 500 meter mark. Princeton edged out on Dartmouth, who clung to the front runners and pulled away from MIT. Yale, with a comfortable command of the race, maintained its composure; the Elis held their margin to win in 5:49.02, almost four seconds ahead of the Tigers.
Shortly after, Yale's lightweight four took to the course, in a tough heat against Columbia, Drexel, Georgetown, MIT, and Wisconsin. The Elis rowed a solid piece, holding off challenges from Georgetown, MIT, and Drexel to finish third— just over two seconds back of second place Wisconsin.
Following a short gap in the racing, the four took to the course for the grand final at 10:10 a.m., although false start by Wisconsin delayed the start slightly. In a competitive final, all crews started strongly, and remained level to the 750 meter mark. The Elis rowed well, clinging to the pack, but Columbia began to pull away at the halfway point. Harvard, Wisconsin and Cornell went with them, as Yale fought off Princeton. Yale ultimately finished fifth, open water ahead of the Tigers.
In the Elis' final race of the day, the varsity eight took to the course. The Elis jumped out to an early lead, and held their advantage on the rest of the field through 500 meters. Cornell and Columbia then moved to a half-length lead by the halfway mark, and continued to pull away. Harvard went with the leaders, and mounted a late challenge to push the Big Red all the way to the line. It was a disappointing result for the Bulldogs, who entered the contest ranked second.
The result brings Yale's season to an end. The Elis now have an opportunity to regroup and improve over the summer, in preparation for next season.
Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity