Returning eight athletes from the 2018 crew, and with a big class of 13 seniors, the squad is eager to get underway. The lightweight varsity eight posted a 6-2 regular season mark in 2018, but couldn't find their footing in the championship portion of the season, qualifying for the IRA National Championship through the Petite Finals at the Sprints.
The team is led by seniors captain Matthew Matejka and commodore Nicolai Parks, both of whom have spent most of their Yale career in the top two eights. Matejka, a native of Wellesley, Mass., is a three-time Eastern Sprints medalist (including a gold-medal finish in 2016) and stroked his lightweight 4+ to a first-place finish and course record at the 2017 Head of the Charles regatta. Parks hails from Bethesda, Md., is a two-time Sprints medalist and has recently been an important part of the first varsity crew.
Says Matejka, "Nicolai and I have found a great rhythm in working with both the athletes and the coaches so far this year. Nicolai's cooperation and insights have been a fundamental part of the progress the two of us have made as leaders, as athletes and also as a whole team to this point in the year. He's a terrific leader by deed and word, and he's a pound-for-pound inspiration for us all."
Matejka adds, "I'm proud of the way our senior class has stayed together. It's a big class and I think it's because every guy in it just likes racing. We also have some unfinished projects which we're still working on. This class knows how to lead by example, and I'm excited to share another season of racing with them."
Yale's regular season is as follows:
March 30: Johnson Cup vs. Naval Academy @ Mercer Lake, New Jersey
April 6: vs. Georgetown @ Derby, Connecticut
April 13: Dodge Cup vs. Columbia, Penn @ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 20: Durand Cup vs. Dartmouth @ Derby, Connecticut
April 27: Goldthwait and Vogel Cups vs. Harvard, Princeton @ Princeton, New Jersey
The athletes will then prepare for the EARC Eastern Sprints in Worcester, Mass., being held Sunday, May 19th. The Sprints follows a six-across racing format, and the Bulldogs will line up once more against their regular season opponents as well as Cornell. At the Sprints, the Yale Lightweights will compete for the title of EARC Eastern Sprints Champions and Ivy League Champions in addition to competing for the Cups awarded to the first, second and third varsity lightweight crews, and for overall team performance.
A top-seven performance for the Bulldogs at the Sprints would qualify their top two crews of athletes for the IRA National Championship Regatta, being held in on Lake Natoma in California, May 31st - June 2nd.
Report Filed by Yale Sports Publicity