There may not be a weekend as important as Eastern Sprints, but this one is as close as it gets for the Princeton men’s lightweights.
Of the four rowing teams at Princeton, the lights are the only one that gets a true H-Y-P weekend. After back-to-back road trips following a bye week, the Tigers get to host their two biggest rivals for the Goldthwait (V8) and Vogel (team) Cups Saturday morning.
If you want to make it even bigger, you can add the fact that Harvard is currently the top-ranked program in the nation. Yale is second.
Yes, this one is big.
“The race this weekend is very special for all teams involved,” said sophomore Casey Ward. “We only race Harvard and Yale on Lake Carnegie once every three years so for a lot of guys this is their only shot to win this one at home. The intense rivalry between the three schools and the unique presence of a points trophy that counts every single boat class at the regatta makes this weekend extremely personal.
“The points trophy makes this weekend an extreme team effort that unites every guy from the top varsity boats on down through the freshman boat,” Ward added. “This high-pressure situation brings out the best in all the competitors.”
Harvard leads the all-time Goldthwait Cup series with 43 wins, while Princeton is second with 25. Yale has won 19, though it hasn’t taken the Cup since 2006. The Crimson has also won three straight on Lake Carnegie, including a win by .7 of a second in 2010 that ended Princeton’s 20-race win streak.
In fact, Princeton has the longest winless streak in this race on Lake Carnegie. Prior to the three straight Harvard wins, Yale took this race in 2001. Princeton’s last victory came in 1998, when head coach Marty Crotty was an undergraduate rower for the heavyweights.
But this Tiger team comes into the weekend with momentum following its Wood-Hammond Trophy victory over Penn and Georgetown last weekend.
“The overarching goal is always Eastern Sprints, but I think we are trying to live in the moment right now and focus on this weekend as if it were the only race that mattered this year,” Ward said. “The atmosphere is saturated with excitement and a heightened sense of focus this week and every boat has been eager to get to work. There is no denying that this race is a special one and that all the teams across the league will be looking up the results on Saturday afternoon because this race has a big impact on the perceived “pecking order” of all the boats in the league going into Sprints.”
Rowing will begin at 9 am with a second freshman 4+, and it will continue every 20 minutes until a third varsity race at 10:20. The Goldthwait Cup first varsity race is scheduled for 10 am.
A victory for Princeton would mean that every varsity eight would have at least one loss heading into Sprints (May 19). Top-ranked Harvard defeated Cornell early this season, while the Big Red followed with a tight home win over Princeton. The Tigers have won the remainder of their races this season, including both of its early-season races on Lake Carnegie.
SATURDAY SCHEDULE ON LAKE CARNEGIE
Men’s Lightweights v. Harvard/Yale
9:00 am • Second Freshman 4+
9:20 am • First Freshmen
9:40 am • Second Varsity
10:00 am • First Varsity
10:20 am • Third Varsity
Open Women v. Dartmouth/Penn
10:40 am • B Four
11:00 am • Varsity Four
11:20 am • Second Varsity
11:40 am • First Varsity
12:00 pm • 3V/4V Eight