Over the last two weeks, the third-ranked Princeton men’s lightweight rowing team has fallen victim to slow starts against both No. 1 Cornell and No. 2 Columbia.
If this is a problem that gets fixed by Eastern Sprints, the Tigers will remember those races as invaluable lessons en route to a championship season.
If not ... well, nobody wants to think that way.
“Poor starts have seemed to cause problems the past two races, particularly against Columbia, and it’s certainly something we’re trying to focus on,” said sophomore Christian Wawrzonek. “I think we were a little surprised seeing a crew jump up like that so quickly, and we just weren’t ready for it. But now that that happened to us, I think we’re much more ready to go 110 percent off the line to make sure we hold our own down the opening stretch.”
That next opportunity will come Saturday morning in the Princeton home finale. The Tigers will race for the Wood-Hammond Cup against Penn, and will also face Georgetown for the second time this season.
“Lake Carnegie has really come to be a place where I can call home, and I think that goes for everyone at the boathouse as well,” Wawrzonek said. “It’s only been two years, but I already feel like I’ve spent the majority of my rowing career on this lake. Needless to say, when we get a chance as a team to face somebody right here on our doorstep, it feels like there’s something a little extra on the line. Racing on the lake makes it easy to remember how long we’ve been working for these moments, because this is the spot where we put in all those hours, everyday for the past eight months. And winning in front of a home crowd always feels special.”
Princeton has held the Cup in each of the last eight meetings, and it holds a 58-12 advantage in a series that began in 1941. Both Penn and Georgetown held spots in the Top 10 last weekend, and both programs know that a win over Princeton could put them in strong shape heading towards the Eastern Sprints.
Penn is coming off a loss to the nation’s top two teams, Yale and Columbia, last weekend, while Georgetown fell to Navy. Princeton defeated Georgetown by more than 23 seconds in the first race of the 2014 season.
“The league looks incredibly close this year,” Wawrzonek said. “Harvard and Yale were both within a length of Cornell, and we were only 4 seconds off as well. Throw Columbia in the mix and you potentially have four or five teams all within a 4 seconds of each other over 2000 meters.”
SATURDAY RACING SCHEDULE
Open Women vs. Yale
8:00 AM - Coxswain Meeting
9:00 AM - Varsity B 4+ & C 4+
9:20 AM - Third Varsity B 4+
9:40 AM - Varsity A 4+
10:00 AM - Second Varsity
10:20 AM - First Varsity, Eisenberg Cup
Lightweight Men vs. Penn & Georgetown
9:15 AM - Coxswain Meeting
10:40 AM - Third & Fourth Varsity
11:00 AM - Second Varsity & First Freshmen
11:20 AM - First Varsity, Wood-Hammond Trophy
Lightweight Women vs. Georgetown
10:40 AM - Coxswain Meeting
11:40 AM - Varsity 4+
12:00 PM - First Varsity & Second Varsity, 2006 Cup