NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Last week, it was gentle breezes and balmy temperatures on Florida's Canal 54. This week, Columbia's heavyweight rowers fought brisk winds that roiled the Raritan River. But the conditions had little effect on the Lions, who won their second straight cup, their first up north this spring, by topping Rutgers to retain the Collins Cup.
Columbia was impressive against the Scarlet Knights. The varsity eight battled through a strong headwind which created bumpy water conditions at the start of the race, and outdistanced Rutgers early, utilizing a strong move in the middle of the 2000-meter race to win by 23 seconds.
The varsity four emulated its 8-oared counterpart with an excellent start despite the chop, eventually expanding its lead to 30 seconds over the Rutgers B four, with the A boat further behind.
The freshman eights event, which began the Collins Cup activities, was a lot closer for a while.
"Columbia and Rutgers rowed level for the first 200 meters," head coach Mike Zimmer recalled. But a Columbia move opened up a lead over the Knights, and another in the middle portion really extended that lead.
The Columbia frosh won by 16 seconds over Rutgers A, considerably more over the Scarlet Knight B boat. "It was," Zimmer said, "a pretty good effort."
The heavyweights make their home debut next Saturday, March 31, in the Alumni Cup regatta on Orchard Beach Lagoon. The Alumni Cup field has been expanded this year, as Dartmouth and Holy Cross join MIT. It will mark the Big Green heavyweights' first trip to the Big Apple in many years.
The results:

The Collins Cup
Columbia vs. Rutgers
March 24, 2012
Raritan River, New Brunswick, N.J.

Varsity Eights

1. Columbia, 6:15.59
2. Rutgers, 6:38.57

Second Varsity Fours
1. Columbia, 7:23.73
2. Rutgers B, 7:53.30
3. Rutgers A, 8:03.57

Freshman Eights

1. Columbia, 6:45.41
2. Rutgers A, 7:01.56
3. Rutgers B, 7:33.74

Today's Boatings:

Varsity Eight
Janelle Geddes, cox; Connor Jones, stroke; Charles Wu, 7; Mike Donohue, 6; Sam Collins, 5; Clemens Auersperg, 4; Ben Coombs, 3; Daniel Kolbe, 2; Noah Whitehead, bow

Freshman Eight
Alex Xu, cox; Matt Ridgeway, stroke; Buck Goggin, 7; James Glynn, 6; Connor Murphy, 5; Rob Cornacchia, 4; D.J. Dlesk, 3; Zach Ellenbogen, 2; Sam Harris, bow

Varsity Four
Andrew Lake, cox; Ian Winthrop, stroke; John Clapp, 3; Elliot Meade, 2; Brent Laurint, bow