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WORCESTER, Mass. -- Be it The Bronx, Boston, or Central Massachusetts, wherever Columbia's varsity heavyweights have had to go to defend the Alumni Cup, the Lions have done so, and with success.
    
For the fourth straight season, Columbia brought the Alumni Cup back to New York City. This time, they had to travel to Worcester, Mass., and brave the vast waters of wind-roiled Lake Quinsigamond, to retain the Cup.
    
Despite the conditions, and the presence of Dartmouth and Holy Cross, both rowing as guests, Columbia won all three varsity eights events, including the first varsity eights by nearly 20 seconds over MIT in the Alumni Cup decider.
    
The Lions won that one in a hard-fought battle with Dartmouth, winning by 5.9 seconds despite a solid Big Green row and a fierce tailwind that blasted all the boats with so heavy a chop that they had to row through whitecaps in the second 1000 meters.
    
"That was a really good effort by our varsity eight," head coach Mike Zimmer said. "Our starts had not been great, but we got out well, ahead of Dartmouth, and opened up a full length lead by the third 500 meters."
    
In spite of everything Lake Quinsigamond could throw at them, the Lions were able to really open up a lead in the final 500.
    
Columbia won the 2000-meter race in 5:50.9, Dartmouth right behind in 5:56.8. Holy Cross was third, in 6:07.2, with MIT fourth in 6:10.2.
    
The Lions' second and third eights also emerged triumphant, the 2V in 5:56.4 to Dartmouth's 6:04.2, and the 3V in 6:05.9 to the Big Green's 6:08.7. Columbia only faltered in the varsity fours, finishing 15 seconds off Dartmouth's 7:08.7 pace, but they had an excuse.
    
"The four was leading," Zimmer recalled, "when they caught a crab, a very bad crab. They recovered from the crab, only to catch another. That one they couldn't recover from."
    
The second varsity also caught a crab, no doubt occasioned by the wind-tossed waves, but recovered from that to row an excellent race. In fact, the 2V's winning time was only five seconds off of the varsity eight's. The third varsity had troubles of its own, as its cox box (used for communication from the coxswain to the rowers) conked out in the opening strokes. Coxswain Debbie Levine still led her eight to a narrow victory over Dartmouth.
    
"The eights handled the wind really well," Zimmer said, "especially in those last 1000 meters. I thought all the eights did a nice job."
    
Columbia will attempt to regain possession of the venerated Childs Cup next Saturday. The regatta will be held at Overpeck Park, between nine and 11 a.m., a precise schedule to be announced later this week.
    
The results:

The Alumni Cup
Columbia vs. MIT; Dartmouth and Holy Cross rowing as guests
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Lake Quinsigamond, Worcester, Mass.

Varsity Eights
1. Columbia, 5:50.9
2. Dartmouth, 5:56.8
3. Holy Cross, 6:07.2
4. MIT, 6:10.2

Second Varsity Eights
1. Columbia, 5:56.4
2. Dartmouth, 6:04.2
3. Holy Cross, 6:07.8
4. MIT, 6:17.2

Third Varsity Eights
1. Columbia, 6:05.9
2. Dartmouth, 6:08.7
3. Holy Cross 1F, 6:18.1
4. Holy Cross 3V, 6:25.5

Varsity Fours
1. Dartmouth, 7:08.7
2. MIT, 7:20.5
3. Holy Cross, 7:22.8
4. Columbia, 7:23.2

Today's Boatings:

Varsity Eight
Vivian Zhang, cox; Buck Goggin, stroke; Alexander Simmonds, 7; Clemens Auersperg, 6; Sam Collins, 5; Mike Donohue, 4; Alex Barkume, 3; Emmett Gross, 2; James Glynn, bow

Second Varsity Eight
Andrew Tang, cox; Sam Harris, stroke; Charles Wu, 7; D.J. Dlesk, 6; Matt Ridgeway, 5; Josh Fram, 4; Ben Coombs, 3; Connor Jones, 2; John Clapp, bow

Third Varsity Eight
Debbie Levine, cox; Daniel Kolbe, stroke; Jack Michaud, 7; Elliot Meade, 6; Noah Whitehead, 5; Max Lawton, 4; Phillip Fletcher, 3; Christian Aral, 2; Zach Ellenbogen, bow

Varsity Four
Andrew Lake, cox; Brent Laurint, stroke; Max Lindemann, 3; Ben Charley, 2; Rob Cornacchia, bow

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