PRINCETON, N.J. -- Rowers cast wary eyes to the leaden skies above Lake Carnegie, and took heed of every gust of wind, but Hurricane Sandy never did arrive during the Princeton Chase Regatta Sunday.
Columbia's rowers most certainly did arrive, turning in solid showings across the board against strong collegiate competition, Ivy League and non-Ivy.
"I think all of our coaches should be pleased with their results today," Mike Zimmer, Columbia's Director of Rowing, said.
Zimmer particularly liked the performance of his heavyweight squad. Rebounding from a disappointing showing at the Head of the Charles last week, the Lion heavies turned in excellent results at Princeton, including a 10th place finish in the varsity eights race, and an 11th in the varsity fours, but Zimmer was heartened by much more than the numbers.
Today's racing, he said, is "a step forward. It was much, much better than last week. There was intensity this week, a lot more intensity and commitment. We were [most] pleased with that."
Zimmer and his staff changed the makeup of their boats considerably. They took most of the men who been rowing in the second and third varsity eights in practice, and made them the varsity A eight. It finished 10th in a field of 49 in the three-mile, head-style race, in a fast time of 12:45.469.
Columbia B, with five men who had rowed in the eight in the Head of the Charles, was 21st in 13:06.028. Two other Lion eights were 35th and 41st.
The competition on the Carnegie was vital to the coaches, who had been basing assignments in the eights mainly on scores on ergometers. Now they have on-the-water information they can use.
"We're going to decide who's good in each boat," he said. "We're going to look at combinations. That's a long process."
Zimmer was also pleased with the three fours Columbia fielded, two of which finished in the top 20 in a 47-boat field. "It was important," he said, "for them to get a trip down the course."
The coach was enthused by the heavyweights' coxswains. The Lions boast a bumper crop of new coxswains.
"All of our coxswains were really good," he said. "It's really hard to jump into an event like this. It bodes well for the future."
The Princeton Chase was the heavyweights' final contest of the fall. As they embark on winter training, Zimmer noted that, "We're going to improve a lot, but the winter will be critical."
Men's lightweight coach Scott Alwin and his staff tried something different for their entries in the Princeton Chase, the lightweights' fourth regatta of the fall.
They broke the squad up into three eights by classes -- one consisting only of juniors, one a sophomore/senior mix, and the other of first-years.
"They weren't sure about doing it that way when we introduced it to them last Monday," Alwin said, "but I think they had fun with it. They actually did well with it."
The sophomore/senior mix excelled, earning the right to be Columbia's A boat during the week, and then carrying that over to the races themselves. The A boat was sixth in a strong 27-boat field, in a time of 13:03.875, placing better than such crews as Navy, Penn, Dartmouth, and Georgetown.
"They rowed a solid race," Alwin said. "I was very pleased with that. The senior and sophomore classes are two classes that didn't do well when they were freshmen. It was good for them to show they can go fast."
The B boat, made up of juniors, did not perform well, placing 24th. Although they were excellent as freshmen, they didn't have a good week of practice, the coach said.
The freshmen of 2012 came through handsomely. They showed very good speed in placing sixth in a field consisting of both first-year lightweights and heavyweights, second among all the freshman lightweight eights.
The host Princeton freshman heavyweights won the contest, in 12:51.299, followed by the Penn and Cornell heavies. Princeton's lightweights were fourth, in 13:14.546, followed by the Navy heavies, the Columbia lights, and three more lightweight eights -- Navy, Penn and Cornell.
"Our freshmen were excited," the coach said. "They had been pointing to the race all fall as THEIR race, their race as freshmen." This year, for the first time, men's rowers are allowed to compete on varsities as freshmen.
The lightweights will now adjourn for the season, their fall competition over.
Not so the Columbia women's team. Starting well before the resumption of classes in September, they've been pointing toward the University of Virginia varsity eight, ranked first in the nation.
The Lions had their first meeting with UVA in the Chase. Virginia took first in the Women's Varsity Eights, in a fast 13:41.434. Princeton was second, 14 seconds back in 13:58.535.
The next eight crews were bunched tightly, from Yale's 14:13.906 (3rd) to Duke's 14:23.976 (10th). Columbia was in the middle of that pack, sixth in 14:19.243.
"We rowed an extremely fast race," head coach Scott Ramsey noted, but cautioned that "there's still a lot of work to be done to close the gap on Virginia and Princeton. They are very, very fast."
However, his varsity women are still determined to compete with Virginia. They will get another chance on Sunday, November 11, when Columbia travels to Charlottesville, Virginia, for the Rivanna Romp (Rivanna is a reservoir near the campus).
"They are very serious about this," Ramsey said. "They're thrilled for the opportunity to race Virginia that day. They're hungry to get faster and see where they stack up against the fastest crew in the country right now."
Columbia fielded three other eights in the Princeton Chase. The second varsity, rowing as Columbia B in the Varsity Eights race, finished 21st of 55, and the third varsity, Columbia C, was 50th in the same race.
The Lions sent a novice eight into the Novice Eights race. It was ninth of 11.
"I was very happy with the second varsity," Ramsey said. "They rowed an aggressive race. They beat Dartmouth, Cornell and Penn.
"Everyone in that boat is hungry to move up to the first varsity eight. They definitely will pose threats to the top rowers all season."
Both the third varsity and novice eights were missing members due to injury or illness.
"They both need to improve," Ramsey said. "We need them to be healthy and fit. It is critical to our season.
The Lions will continue to practice in anticipation of the Rivanna Romp on November 11.
The Princeton Chase (three-mile head races)
Sunday, October 29, 2012
Lake Carnegie, Princeton, N.J.
Varsity Eights (49 boats)
10. Columbia A, 12:45.469
21. Columbia B, 13:06.028
35. Columbia C, 13:35.871
41. Columbia D, 13:58.567
Varsity Fours (47 boats)
11. Columbia A, 14:12.109
17. Columbia B, 14:20.217
47. Columbia C, 16:33.095
Varsity Eights (27 boats)
6. Columbia A, 13:03.875
24. Columbia B, 14:08.030
Freshman Heavyweight/Lightweight Eights Race
6. Columbia Lightweight A, 13:20.248
11. Columbia Heavyweight A, 13:33.146
Varsity Eights (55 boats)
6. Columbia A (varsity), 14:19.243
21. Columbia B (second varsity), 14:51.464
50. Columbia C (third varsity), 16:23.110
Novice Eights (11 boats)
9. Columbia A, 17:05.494
Columbia Eight A
Andrew Tang, cox; Buck Goggin, stroke; Alexander Simmonds, 7; Elliot Meade, 6; Sam Collins, 5; Josh Fram, 4; James Glynn, 3; Connor Jones, 2; John Clapp, bow
Columbia Eight B
Andrew Lake, cox; Sam Harris, stroke; Ben Coombs, 7; Clemens Auersperg, 6; Charles Wu, 5; Mike Donohue, 4; Matt Ridgeway, 3; Daniel Kolbe, 2; Noah Whitehead, bow
Columbia Eight C
Vivian Zhang, cox; Emmett Gross, stroke; Alex Barkume, 7; D.J. Dlesk, 6; Ryan Jones, 5; Christian Aral, 4; Ben Charley, 3; Bret McCarty, 2; Jack Michaud, bow
Columbia Eight D
Debbie Levine, cox; Connor Murphy, stroke; Zach Ellenbogen, 7; Max Lawton, 6; Phillip Fletcher, 5; Brent Laurint, 4; Jake Petterson, 3; Nicolaas Woudenberg, 2; Max Lindemann, bow
Columbia Freshman Eight
Vivian Zhang, cox; Emmett Gross, stroke; Alex Barkume, 7; Josh Fram, 6; Jake Petterson, 5; Max Lawton, 4; Christian Aral, 3; Bret McCarty, 2; Jack Michaud, bow
Columbia Four A
Andrew Lake, cox; Sam Collins, stroke; Clemens Auersperg, 3; Matt Ridgeway, 2; Connor Jones, bow
Columbia Four B
Andrew Tang, cox; Elliot Meade, stroke; Charles Wu, 3; Mike Donohue, 2; Noah Whitehead, bow
Columbia Four C
Debbie Levine, cox; Rob Cornacchia, stroke; Brent Laurint, 3; Nick Hesselgrave, 2; Connor Murphy, bow
(Columbia withdrew from races involving fours, pairs and singles in order to return well ahead of the impending hurricane)
Columbia Eight A
Stone Cao, cox; Griffin Whitlock, stroke; John O'Mara, 7; Travis Simon, 6; Fredrik Aasaaren, 5; John Zucchi, 4; Blake Pinell, 3; Ben Blair, 2; Matt Bellesheim, bow
Columbia Eight B
Erica Cunningham, cox; Connor Dougherty, stroke; James Winford, 7; John Hold, 6; Lane Brokaw, 5; Chris Hatzis, 4; Curtis Kachline, 3; Kevin Mangan, 2; Roger Stone, bow
Columbia Freshman Eight A
Yih-Jen Ku, cox; Jonathon Rosow, stroke; Oliver Ingram, 7; Jacob Buczek, 6; Colin Ross, 5; Daniel Puttmann, 4; Colm Smith, 3; Fletcher Sims, 2; Matt Taylor, bow
(Columbia withdrew from races involving fours in order to return ahead of the impending hurricane)
Columbia Varsity Eight A
Aneesha Baliga, cox; Rebecca Randall, stroke; Fiona Duffy, 7; Samantha Warren, 6; Alexandra Delaney, 5; Karli McMenamin, 4; Hilary Going, 3; Nikki Bourassa, 2; Lottie Galliano, bow
Columbia Second Varsity Eight B
Clare Hua, cox; Jessica Werlin, stroke; Haley Weil, 7; Amelia Brunner, 6; Jocelyn Bohn, 5; Kellie Solowski, 4; Lily Keane, 3; Alexandra Swift, 2; Elisa Mirkil, bow
Columbia Third Varsity Eight C
Reyna Calderon, cox; Natalie Rutherford, stroke; Caitlin Shufelt, 7; Colleen Condon, 6; Carly Tashijan, 5; Madeline O'Brien, 4; Nikki Tomm, 3; India Knight, 2; Lexi Leija, bow
Columbia Novice Eight
Aneesha Baliga, cox; Carly Tashijan, stroke; Lexi Leija, 7; India Knight, 6; Maia Claman, 5; Madeline O'Brien, 4; Natalie Moore, 3; Lizzy Trelstad, 2; Lilly Mudge, bow