May 30, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It's been nearly three weeks since the Yale lightweights competed, and head coach Andy Card and his team have put the time off to good use. The Bulldogs have been busy preparing for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, the national championship of men's crew, which will take place starting Thursday on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J.
Yale won the Petite Final at the Eastern Sprints on May 13, but Card is optimistic that his team can earn a berth in the Grand Final at IRAs.
"The lightweight league is a turbulent one, and there are more changes in finish position in our league than in any other," he said. "The key to the race for any crew is having two great pieces on the day. No one can really afford to have a poor stretch of any section of the 2000-meter course. There are too many other crews ready to pick you off if you falter. In many ways, the field is similar to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness - just winning the Derby/Sprints does not guarantee you a win at the Preakness/IRA. Everyone adjusts and improves. The question is who has improved the most?"
Yale's varsity eight of Daniel Ensslen, Mikkel Krenchel, Nick Panza, James Johnson, Richard Littlehale, Chris Blum, Gregory Hopkins, Peter Reiser and coxswain Emily Cleveland will compete on Saturday. The Bulldogs race St. Joseph, Georgetown, Cornell, Princeton and Penn in the second heat at 7:34 a.m. The Grand Final is scheduled for 2:54 p.m.
The Bulldogs are seeking their third national title of the decade. Yale won in 2000 and 2005. Last year, the Bulldogs placed fifth. Cornell is the defending champion.
Yale has three other boats competing. The second varsity of Foster Hays, Andrew Kaiser, Simon Goldman, Joseph Pappalardo, Peter Barkett, Brendan Stallard, Nathan Bruker, Philip Lang and coxswain Manuel Gonzales-Luna races in its heat on Thursday morning and will be competing against some heavyweight crews.
The varsity pair of Roman Rezanowicz and Alexander Rothmeier also gets underway Thursday morning along with the freshman four of Noah McColl, Brendan McCook, Michael Jonas, Jeremy Hopkins and coxswain Stephen Dobeck.