DERBY, Conn. — Columbia's women's rowers opened the northern portion of their spring schedule with a formidable task — defeat defending NCAA champion Yale, plus Penn, at the Bulldogs' home course on the Housatonic River.
   
The Lions were unable to beat either of the other two Ivy League schools in the Connell Cup race for varsity eights, but did capture two second places, in the second varsity eights and varsity B fours.
   
Overcoming a 15-20 miles per hour tail wind and biting cold, Yale defended the Cup by rowing the 2000 meter varsity eights race in 6:09.40, 3.5 seconds better than Penn's 6:12.90 and 12.6 seconds better than Columbia's 6:22.0.
   
The Bulldogs also won the second and third varsity eights races, and the varsity B fours. Penn took the A varsity fours.
   
Columbia earned a second in the second varsity eights, rowing the course in 6:27.80 to edge Penn (6:28.30) by .5 seconds. Yale was the winner in 6:16.20.
   
The Lions were awarded a second, behind Yale, in the B fours race when Penn, which won it easily, was "excluded" for missing the turning buoys.
   
Columbia opens its home season next weekend with regattas Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, April 2, the Lions host the Bison of Bucknell University on Orchard Beach Lagoon; first race is at 10:50 a.m. The following day, Columbia tries to retain its own Woodbury Cup, named in memory of Melanie "Mel" Woodbury '96BC, 1996 Columbia captain and MVP, when it faces Northeastern, beginning at 11:15 a.m.
   
Today's results:

The Connell Cup
Columbia, Yale, Penn
March 26, 2011
Yale University, Derby, Conn.

Varsity Eights

1. Yale, 6:09.40
2. Penn, 6:12.90
3. Columbia, 6:22.00

Second Varsity Eights
1. Yale, 6:16.20
2. Columbia, 6:27.80
3. Penn, 6:28.30

Third Varsity Eights
1. Yale, 6:26.40
2. Penn, 6:46.80
3. Columbia, 7:22.70

Varsity Fours, A
1. Penn, 7:07.20
2. Yale, 7:11.30
3. Columbia, 7:22.10

Varsity Fours, B
1. Yale, 7:24.50
2. Columbia, 7:28.90
Note: Penn, timed in 7:11.30, was excluded for missing the turning buoys

Today's Boatings:

Varsity Eight
Shannon Sullivan, cox; Rebecca Randall, stroke; McKenzie Largay, 7; Nikki Bourassa, 6; Meredith Mead, 5; Lily Keane, 4; Katie Mitchell, 3; Alex Hammerberg, 2;  Samantha Warren, bow

Second Varsity Eight
Stephanie Ngai, cox; Kasey Koopmans, stroke; Fiona Duffy, 7; Bailey Griswold, 6; Mary Nemeth, 5; Natalie Rutherford, 4; Lottie Galliano, 3; Kenzie Bess, 2; Luisa Isbell, bow

Third Varsity Eight
Adele Sung, cox; Katherine Bergstrom, stroke; Katrina Martell, 7; Yvonne Vogt, 6; Kellie Solowski, 5; Ali Seybold, 4; Helen Van Der Sluis, 3; Natalie Russell, 2; Nikki Tomm, bow

Varsity Four A
Gabrielle Barrila, cox; Hilary Going, stroke; Karli McMenamin, 3; Louisa Mink, 2; Alexandra Angelo, bow

Varsity Four B
Jessica Geiger, cox; Jennifer Wukawitz, stroke; Jessica Werlin, 3; Tamar Nisbett, 2; Sylvie Krekow, bow