No matter the competition, when you can get Harvard, Yale and Princeton into the same arena, you’re guaranteed drama.
Lightweight men’s rowing is the only team among the four crews that has an annual H-Y-P weekend, and the three traditional powers will head to the Housatonic River in Connecticut for the 87th competition for the Goldthwait and Vogel Cups Saturday morning.
For Princeton, this is a golden opportunity to gain a serious level of confidence and momentum prior to the 2012 EARC Championships, which will be held May 13 in Worcester, Mass. The Tigers, who retained the Wood-Hammond Cup last weekend, have losses to a pair of top-four programs; this is their shot to take down No. 1.
The Crimson has been ranked first all season, and it is coming off a narrow win over the third-ranked Georgetown Hoyas. Harvard, which leads the all-time series with 42 Goldthwait Cup wins, has won this varsity eight race in each of the last two seasons.
Princeton ranks second in the series with 25 wins, and it has a chance to return a favor to the Crimson this weekend. Each of the last two years, the Tigers have entered this regatta ranked first nationally; both times, Harvard left victorious, including its one-second win last year. None of Princeton’s three losses this season have come by more than three seconds.
Yale entered last weekend ranked second nationally, but it fell to fifth-ranked Dartmouth by 5.5 seconds. The Bulldogs rank third in the rivalry with only 19 Goldthwait Cups (none since 2006), but they are also the reigning IRA national champion and have won two of the last four Goldthwait Cups held on the Housatonic.
Besides the Goldthwait Cup, which goes to the varsity eight winner, the teams will be competing for the Vogel Cup, which goes to the winner of the overall team points competition.
Gianthomas Volpe ’12 is the captain of the Princeton men’s lightweight crew. He recently shared some of his thoughts on the season and the upcoming Goldthwait Cup weekend with GoPrincetonTigers.com.
1) Are you pleased and/or satisfied with the level of progression the boat has made this season?
So far we aren’t satisfied with what we have achieved during our duel races so we are really looking to make important steps forward. We are confident that over the past couple weeks we have been able to establish a base to build on and we are excited to see how far that can take us.
2) Have the close losses been especially frustrating, or do you view them as just part of the growing process?
The close losses have been very frustrating, but at the same time they have also offered the chance to learn something. We have been able to go back to those races and pinpoint the mistake we made and the weaknesses we showed, allowing us to address the issues. We would prefer to not have the losses, but we might as well try to get something out of them.
3) What do you think has been your best performance this season?
The season opener against Navy was definitely a good race based on results. The last race against Georgetown and Penn was also a good race in that it showed us that we have found something to build off as we move forward in the season.
4) While everybody knows about Easterns, how special is the annual regatta between Princeton, Harvard and Yale, and what would a win this weekend mean for you?
It is a really special race for us and definitely stands out from the rest of our regular season. Every race is important, but the rivalry with Harvard and Yale goes beyond rowing and applies to any team on campus. A win this week would represent a very strong turning point in our season and would allow us to leave behind some tough races and really focus on the postseason regattas.
5) How important is it for you to reclaim the Goldthwait Cup after the last two seasons of tough losses to Harvard?
As a senior it would be great to avenge those defeats with a win. Both the ’10 and the ’11 races were extremely close and a huge disappointment, but I think we need to put those behind us. More than to avenge the losses of those crews, this race can represent a defining moment for the new ’12 crew.
6) With a couple weeks still left before EARCs, what will be the key to making sure you are at your strongest for May 13?
After HYPs we will be able to come back and address any issues that come up. The key will be to stay focused on the post-season goals and work hard on fine-tuning the boat in the time leading up to EARCs.