Rowing Teams Face Crucial Races On Road This Weekend
Men's heavy and women's teams look to turn around seasons, men's light looks to continue successful year
As two of Penn's rowing teams try to stop seeing orange and improve results in the coming weekend, the other looks to build on its early season success.
The men's heavyweight rowers will look to end Princeton's stranglehold on the Childs Cup, while the women will try and wrest the Orange Challenge Cup from the reigning Syracuse team.
In lightweight, the nation's first university will meet the nation's first college, Harvard, as well as host Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., for the Matthews-Leonard Cup.
For the Childs Cup, the Quakers will meet Columbia and host Princeton in their first Ivy League meet.
While Penn claims the most victories (44 all-time) entering the event's 95th running, Princeton has captured the past 12. The last time the Tigers failed to win the Childs Cup was in 1993, on the heels of five consecutive victories for the Quakers.
Penn has had two weeks to reflect on a difficult season debut at the Windermere Classic in California. Going lane-to-lane against some of the nation's elite programs in Trinity, Washington and Stanford, the freshman eight rowed past the latter's first years for Penn's lone victory.
If the heavyweights are able to take what they learned from Windermere and shed some seconds, the team may be able to return to its former dominance over the Childs Cup.
Last weekend, the women's rowing team earned bronze in the three-team Connell Cup against league competitors Yale and Columbia. The varsity four and novice boats tallied the team's only two wins at the meet.
This weekend, the women will return to non-conference racing as the varsity boat looks for its first win of 2006.
However, they are trekking to upstate New York to challenge Syracuse and Northeastern in the Orange Challenge Cup, a competition in which Penn women have not tasted victory since 1995. Syracuse has defended its home waters three years running, and four of the past five.
Still, the Quakers say they remain confident they can overcome those numbers.
"This is a race that always rotates between the three teams, so it is always exciting," coach Barb Grudt said. "We have just as good a chance at winning as any of the other teams."
Meanwhile, the lightweight men have provided the brightest moments for Penn's rowing program this season. The Quakers opened their season by defending the Lev-Brett Bowl, coming from behind to hold off Saint Joseph's and Rutgers by three and six seconds, respectively.
This weekend, Penn abandons regional action for Ivy League competition.
If history intends on repeating itself in the, the Quakers should savor every second of last weekend's win. In the past eight years at the Matthews-Leonard Cup, Penn has been the slowest boat all eight times.
Formerly a face-off between Penn and Cornell, Harvard was welcomed into the competition in 1987.
The Quakers and Big Red probably resent this decision now -- the Crimson has been victorious seven of the past eight years.