Teams will be racing for the Connell Cup.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale's varsity eight won the NCAA title for the third time in the last four years last May. Six members of that winning boat have graduated, so it would only seem natural for Yale head coach Will Porter to have different expectations for his squad in 2011. Porter, though, never changes his outlook.
"My expectation is FUN," he says. "We love to race. We love the challenge of covering 2k as fast as we can. We have trained hard all year to get to this spring ready to throw ourselves at the 2k distance."
Porter's formula of making sure his rowers enjoy the experience has been very successful. The Bulldogs have qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of the last nine years and have finished in the top six four straight years. In addition, Yale has won four of the last six Ivy League titles and has captured the Charles Willing Team Trophy for overall supremacy at Eastern Sprints in three of the last four years.
Despite all that success, Porter isn't worried that this year's team will feel pressure to live up to those lofty standards.
"Right now there is a distinct feeling of no pressure," Porter said. "I think that is a result of most of last year's varsity eight graduating, and this year we have a whole new group eager to see what they can do at the 1v level. Also, all the women who are currently on our team came here BECAUSE we are good and there are very high expectations within our program."
Still, there will be differences from previous years.
"We are small this year," Porter says. "We have a small squad and we are small in stature. We will have a very different approach to our racing. We are no longer a bruising heavyweight crew. We are more of a mid-weight light and quick group."
The Bulldogs, who were ranked sixth in the preseason USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Division I Coaches Poll, open the spring season on Saturday against Penn and Columbia. The first race is scheduled for 9 a.m. on the Housatonic River in Derby, Conn. The teams will be racing for the Connell Cup.
Connell Cup Schedule of Events
9 a.m. Third Varsity Eight
9:20 a.m. Varsity Four
9:40 a.m. Second Varsity
10 a.m. Varsity Eight
10:20 a.m. Varsity Four B & C
C: Sarah Brownlee (Sr., Tampa, Fla.); 8: Catherine McDermott (Jr., Cazenovia, N.Y.);7: Dara Dickson (Jr., Lafayette, Calif.); 6: Caroline Nash (Sr., Darien, Conn.); 5: Natalie King (So., Weston, Conn.); 4: Armine Afeyan (Jr., Lexington, Mass.); 3: Kathleen O'Keefe (Jr., Washington, D.C.); 2: Stephanie Madner (Sr., Kew Australia); 1: Maddie Lips (Fr., Parker, Colo.)
C: Kristen Brownlee (Fr., Tampa, Fla.);8: Eliza Hastings (So., Berwyn, Pa.);7: Amber Anderson (Fr., Richmond, United Kingdom);6: Elizabeth McDermott (Jr., Cazenovia, N.Y.);5: Claire Tolson (Fr., San Mateo, Calif.);4: Kathryn D'Andrea (So., Darien, Conn.);3: Jen Stockwood (Fr., Winchester, Mass.);2: Nikki Grigg (Jr., Washington, D.C.);1: Emily Tormey (So., Seattle, Wash.)
C: Margaret Ayers (So., Portland, Maine);4: Alexandra Fields (Sr., Rock Island, Ill.);3: Brittany Bowman (Jr., West Grove, Pa.);2: Lauren Ross (Sr., Princeton, N.J.);1: Reynolds Ostrover (Greenwich, Conn.)
3rd Varsity Eight
C: Elisa Visher (Fr., Malibu, Calif.);8: Mary Barrosse-Antle (Sr., Hockessin, Del.);7: Lily Blair (Sr., Seattle, Wash.);6: Elizabeth Kalina (Sr., Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.);5: Georgia Separovich (Jr., New South Wales, Australia);4: Abby Loucks (Fr., Dover, N.H.);3: Madeleine Faucher (So., Boise, Id.);2: Melissa Weigel (So., Annapolis, Md.);1: Katherine Dyke (Jr., Gastonia, N.C.)
2nd Varsity Four
C: Elisa Visher (Fr., Malibu, Calif.); 4: Elizabeth Kalina (Sr., Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.);3: Georgia Separovich (Jr., New South Wales, Australia);2: Sabrina Malak (Fr., Mullica Hill, N.J.); 1: Jane Kozey (Fr., Ansonia, Conn.)
Photo of Stephanie Madner by Bob Solorio
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity