PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The Dodge Cup regatta Saturday loomed as one of the big ones on the national men's lightweight rowing slate. Yale, ranked second in the most recent national lightweight rankings. Columbia, ranked fifth. And Penn, seventh-ranked.
Three of the nation's top 10 programs, meeting on the historic Schuylkill River in the equally-historic Dodge Cup. It figured to be a great battle, and in many ways it was.
The defending champion Bulldogs won two races, while Columbia and Penn took one each. But the Bulldogs retained the Cup, as their two victories were in the all-important varsity and second varsity eights.
Yale captured the varsity eights race in 5:30.5, 5.9 seconds better than Columbia's 5:36.4, with the Quakers third in 5:39.9. In the second varsity race, Yale was victorious in 5:45.8, 4.4 seconds better than the Lions. Penn was third, 12.3 seconds in back of Columbia.
"This was a challenging week," head lightweight coach Scott Alwin said. "It was a short week, since we rowed last Saturday and Sunday, and the weather conditions hurt us in trying to practice during the week. We were not as prepared for today as we could have been."
Moreover, the Schuylkill River, a challenge in the best of conditions, was not in the best of condition. Following Friday's rains, the current was moving fast, and debris spotted the course.
Still, Columbia got off to a good start in the varsity eights race for the Dodge Cup. Placed first on the Schuylkill's staggered start, Columbia came out of the stagger up on Yale and Penn.
The Lions still led after 700 meters, but that's when the Bulldogs started advancing, In the second 500 meters, Alwin said, "Yale had gone through us, and we had to work to hold off Penn."
By the start of the third 500, Yale had taken the lead, with Columbia second and Penn third. "We rowed the same speed as Yale for the second 1000 meters," Alwin noted, but the Lions could not cut into the Bulldogs' margin.
Columbia did not go home empty-handed. The third varsity eight won its race, 8.5 seconds ahead of Penn, as Yale did not enter the event.
Columbia makes the long trek to Ithaca next week for the Geiger Cup regatta against Cornell and MIT. It should be a major challenge, Alwin noted, considering Cornell just beat Princeton.
The Lions returns from Ithaca Saturday night, only to row again Sunday against Dartmouth in the Subin Cup regatta in Overpeck Park.
The Dodge Cup results:
Columbia, Yale, Penn
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, Pa.
1. Yale, 5:30.5
2. CU, 5:36.4
3. Penn, 5:39.9
Second Varsity Eights
1. Yale, 5:45.8
2. CU, 5:50.2
3. Penn, 6:02.5
Third Varsity Eights
1. CU, 6:04.8
2. Penn, 6:13.3
1. Penn, 5:48.3
2. Yale, 5:53.4
1. Yale, 6:59.4
2. Penn, 7:07.0
Stone Cao, cox; Anders Smedsrud, stroke; James Winford, 7; Fredrik Aasaaren, 6; Jacob Buczek, 5; John O'Mara, 4; John Zucchi, 3; Blake Pinell, 2; Steven Boyle, bow
Second Varsity Eight
Erica Cunningham, cox; Griffin Whitlock, stroke; Oliver Ingram, 7; Roger Stone, 6; Colin Ross, 5; Travis Simon, 4; Matt Bellesheim, 3; Ben Blair, 2; Connor Dougherty, bow
Third Varsity Eight
Yih-Jen Ku, cox; Connor Murphy, stroke; Lane Brokaw, 7; Fletcher Sims, 6; John Hold, 5; Dan Puttmann, 4; Andrew Bartholomew, 3; Colm Smith, 2; Chris Hatzis, bow