ANNAPOLIS, MD. — If you have to be out on the wind-whipped Severn River at 6 a.m., you'd better come away with a victory. Columbia's freshman eight did just that, carrying the colors for their varsity counterparts when they defeated the Navy first and second freshman eights for the Lions' only victory Saturday.
Two races had gone by, the varsity and second varsity eights, when freshman coach Ed Golding's eight came up to the starting line. Columbia had gotten off to a poor start last Saturday against Princeton, and Golding had drilled his rowers all week to improve their start.
"We had worked on that after last week," he confirmed. "We had a good start against Navy."
The race soon developed into a seesaw affair, with neither crew able to take much of a lead. Navy seemed to be able to keep its bow in front most of the way, but never, as Golding saw it, "more than two seats on us."
With 300 meters left in the 200-meter race, Columbia "made a pretty good move" and took the lead on Navy. The Midshipman 1F fought mightily, but didn't have enough to pass the Lions.
Columbia won in 6:21.4, 1.6 seconds better than Navy's first freshmen, with the Navy 2F lagging behind.
Head coach Scott Alwin was impressed by the Lion Cubs, who won their second straight race after topping Delaware last week. "Columbia had a good race," he said.
His varsity eight also rowed well. The Lions hung in there all 2000 meters against the Middies, remaining within a length of their opponents down the course.
"We had a pretty good race," Alwin said. "But there's a lot of power, erg power, in those Navy first and second eights." The Middies won in 6:11.4 to Columbia's 6:17.4.
Navy's second varsity also won, but not without a large measure of drama.
Columbia was placed on the right of the course, flanked by Navy's second and third varsity. Soon after the race began, the Navy boats inexplicably moved to the right, into Columbia's right of way.
The Lions' coxswain moved right to avoid them, but he had little room to maneuver, and the Columbia eight ran over the 500-meter buoy. The boats continued to the end of the race, whereupon the race official was forced to make a decision.
Although he might have penalized the Navy shells, he chose instead to order a rare "re-row", while excluding the Navy 3V. This time, the Navy 2V utilized all of that power to take an early lead and expand on it, beating Columbia by 20 seconds.
The Lions travel to Derby, Conn., next week for the Dodge Cup regatta on the Housatonic, featuring Columbia against Yale and Penn. The heavyweights will also be there, facing the same two opponents in the Blackwell Cup.
Columbia vs. Navy
April 9, 2011
Severn River, Annapolis, Md.
1. Navy, 6:11.4
2. Columbia, 6:17.4
Second Varsity Eights
1. Navy, 6:21.0
2. Columbia, 6:41.4
1. Columbia, 6:21.4
2. Navy 1F, 6:23.0
3. Navy 2F, 6:48.8
Today's Boatings vs. Navy:
Jesse Qualliotine, cox; Daniel Kirrane, stroke; Bruno Salemme, 7; John O'Mara, 6; James Kahmann, 5; Brian Nickel, 4; Matt Hayto, 3; Tucker Haunt, 2; Graham Pupo, bow
Second Varsity Eight
Stone Cao, cox; Blake Pinell, stroke; John Zucchi, 7; James Brown, 6; Alexander Ciucci, 5; Noah Buckley, 4; Carlos Rodriguez, 3; Tim Reichmann, 2; Elliott Velson, bow
Erica Cunningham, cox; Anders Smedsrud, stroke; Curtis Kachline, 7; Connor Dougherty, 6; Chris Hatzis, 5; John Hold, 4; Steve Boyle, 3; Roger Stone, 2; James Winford, bow