Heavyweight Crew Beats Columbia for Alumni CupBy Robert Lentz
The varsity heavyweight crew team opened their spring racing season by beating a strong Columbia University team to win back the Alumni Cup.
The first varsity eight finished in a time of 5:56, besting the Lions by five seconds. The second varsity and first freshmen boats were not as successful, as both fell to Columbia.
The first varsity was very quick off of the line, taking a two-seat lead in the five-stroke start. Over the next 20 high strokes, the varsity pushed the lead out to four seats. As the crew neared the 1000-meter mark, they just broke open water, after holding off several attempted moves by Columbia.
The Engineers then continued to move away from the Columbia boat and went on to cross the finish line with a margin of a half a boat length of open water.
Coach Gordon Hamilton, an alumnus of Columbia, was pleasantly surprised with the results after predicting before the race that "neither team would win by open water."
Anand Raghunathan '96, cox-swain of the 1996 first varsity said, "It's a solid win for the young crew. They've worked hard for it."
The first varsity eight was a very young and spirited group with several sophomores and juniors. The boating from bow to stern was Charley Able '97, Brian Smith '97, Mads Schmidt '98, Karsten Kallevig '99, Mike Perry '99, Dan Parker '99, Karl Richter '99, Robert Lentz '98, and coxswain Jen Lykens '99.
The Alumni Cup's history has been one of intense competition, with the victories being split almost evenly between the two schools. Columbia has become a very good team recently, placing 11th in the country last year.
"Beating a crew of this caliber gives us a lot of confidence going into races later this season against other top ranked EARC crews," Kallevig said. MIT men's crews race in the most competitive league in the country, the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges, consisting of all Division I schools.
In contrast to the first varsity race, the second varsity race was a very close and toughly fought race. The Columbia Lions managed to overcome an early Engineer lead to finish two seconds ahead of the MIT crew.
The results of this race show that both teams have very well matched second varsities and should provide for interesting racing when they meet again at the Eastern Sprints, conference championships.
Although it was a disappointing loss for the second varsity, they know what they need to work on to improve for next week's race against Williams College.
The first freshmen also lost to a strong Columbia crew. The first race of the spring season was also the first racing experience for many of the freshmen.
Making the adjustments from the longer fall races to high intensity sprints races with starts will come with time. Amro Farid '00, stroke of the freshman eight, said, "We need to improve our start-settle sequence."
All crews are looking forward to next weekend when they will travel to Worcester to meet crews from Williams College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Connecticut College.