ITHACA, N.Y. — One thousand meters into the 2000-meter Dunn Bowl Regatta at Cornell, the Columbia women's varsity eight was proving the worst kind of visitors.
Defying fierce headwinds on the Cayuga Inlet, Columbia had jumped out to a fine start, and kept it up. The 18th-ranked varsity poured it on to establish a lead over the 10th-ranked Bears and 14th-ranked Big Red.    
But the headwind intensified at the beginning of the second 1000, and with it went Columbia's advantage.
"Both Brown and Cornell made strong pushes at the start of the second 1000," head coach Scott Ramsey said, "and we could not keep up." It was that fierce headwind, senior co-captain Bailey Griswold explained. "We're a pretty light team," she said, "and that headwind was a big challenge to us."
Columbia battled, but to no avail. Brown won the race in 6:58.6, 2.3 seconds ahead of Cornell, with Columbia third in 7:09.1. "We're disappointed, but not disheartened," Griswold noted. "We're going to have to work on the body of the race and the sprints," Ramsey said. "But we have to tip our hats to Cornell and Brown."
In the second varsity race, it looked like those teams would have to do the tipping, as the Lions rowed an excellent race.
"We rowed a really strong piece," Ramsey said. "We were very aggressive. We were in control for a full 1400 meters. [Brown was coming up], but we still had six seats on Brown. Then they made a push in the last 600."
Brown sailed past Columbia to win in 7:07.6, the Lions 2.2 seconds behind in 7:09.8, with Cornell just 2.2 more seconds behind the Lions. "We rowed really hard," Ramsey said, "but Brown was just a bit better."
Although Columbia's varsity four finished well behind the leaders in its race, Ramsey was enthused by its showing.
Most of the four's personnel, he explained, are coming off illness or injury. "We're pretty excited for them. They've worked hard and picked up speed. They've made great strides and improved. They're getting better and faster every week.
The Dunn Bowl marked the end of Columbia's dual-meet season. The Lions have three weeks to prepare for the inaugural Ivy League Rowing Championship, which will be held on the Cooper River in Camden County, New Jersey, Sunday May 20. It has replaced the EAWRC Sprints.
"We're really excited to be going to the Ivy League Championship," senior coxswain Stephanie Ngai said. "It's definitely a big change." But while the format is new, the faces will be the same. "For the last few years," Ngai noted, "the top six teams in the Sprints have been Ivy League schools. We'll be racing most of the same teams."
Ngai expects Columbia to do quite well at the Ivy Championships. "I think we have a lot of potential. There's a lot more we're capable of."
Today's results:
The Dunn Bowl
Columbia, Cornell and Brown
April 21, 2012
Cayuga Inlet, Lake Cayuga, Ithaca, N.Y.

Varsity Eights

1. Brown, 6:58.6
2. Cornell, 7:00.9
3. Columbia, 7:09.1

Second Varsity Eights
1. Brown, 7:07.6
2. Columbia, 7:09.8
3. Cornell, 7:11.0

Varsity Fours
1. Cornell, 7:39.0
2. Brown, 7:49.2
3. Columbia, 7:59.5

Today's Boatings:

Varsity Eight
Gabrielle Barilla, cox; Samantha Warren, stroke; Karli McMenamin, 7; Sara Romano, 6; Nikki Bourassa, 5; Lottie Galliano, 4; Bailey Griswold, 3; McKenzie Largay, 2; Rebecca Randall, bow

Second Varsity Eight
Stephanie Ngai, cox; Jessica Werlin, stroke; Fiona Duffy, 7; Katherine Bergstrom, 6; Jocelyn Bohn, 5; Kellie Solowski, 4; Lily Keane, 3; Alexandra Swift, 2; Hilary Going, bow

Varsity Four
Clare Hua, cox; Natalie Rutherford, stroke; Caitlin Shufelt, 3; Amelia Brunner, 2; Louisa Mink, bow