Fifth-ranked Princeton didn't need a victory Saturday morning to be considered contenders for the 2014 EARC Championship, but it sure won't hurt the confidence heading towards Lake Quinsigamond. The Tigers regained the Content Cup for the first time since 2011 and sent its seniors out victorious during a morning victory over sixth-ranked Brown.
Seniors like Dave Mackasey and Will Gillis weren't even eligible to race in the varsity eight as freshmen in 2011, so this was their last opportunity to hoist the final trophy of the regular season, and they weren't about to let that opportunity slip away.
"It was a fun race today," Mackasey said. "It's always good to go out and get the last one at home. We train a lot of long hours for a few precious moments, so I think the seniors took a few minutes today to really let our last race at home soak in. Winning is always fun, but doing it in front of friends, family, and alumni at home on Lake Carnegie is a pretty cool and special feeling."
The win culminates a tough week of training, both because of past results and brutal weather. Princeton had lost back-to-back races to No. 4 Harvard and No. 3 Yale, and it was determined to fix the slow starts that had hurt the boat in both races. That work — which came during flood-bearing storms during the middle of the week — paid dividends as Princeton got out early and held off the Bears.
"This was a big win for us this morning against a strong crew and one that our boat really needed," Mackasaey said. "After two tough weeks at Harvard and at home last weekend against Yale we returned to the basics this week in practice and were able to find some good boat speed. We strung together a good piece from start to finish, getting out of the blocks quick and maintaining the lead throughout.
"Brown put up a strong fight and we are happy to have held off their pushes in the second half of the race to regain the Content Cup," he added. "Overall, the team is happy with how our boats stepped up and performed today on all levels."
Princeton won in 5:31.9, more than four seconds faster than Brown (5:36.3). The Princeton second varsity also won by about four seconds, giving it two straight winning weekends heading into Sprints (May 18). Brown took victories in both the 3V and 4V races.
Princeton has now won the Content Cup nine times, a stretch that includes the 2006 season. That team also won the Eastern Sprints/Ivy League championship, a feat the current Tigers hope to match in two weeks. While Harvard and Yale may enter as favorites, Princeton knows that there are several boats — including both Content Cup participants — who could be strong factors in the final 500 meters.
"This was definitely a big win for us against a fast, mature crew," Mackasey said. "This win shows that across the board we can hang with the top programs. We'll enjoy it for the next few hours, but it's back to work tomorrow. With only two weeks until the Eastern Sprints, there's still plenty of work to be done."
Second Varsity Eight
Brown 1F 5:47.7
Third Varsity Eight
Fourth Varsity Eight