Head coach Lori Dauphiny knows that the best thing that will come out of Saturday morning's season-opening victories over No. 6 Ohio State and No. 13 Brown will be the improvement that comes from testing yourself against two strong programs.
Retaining the Class of 1987 Trophy in the process makes the morning even nicer.
"It's great to finally be racing again, and this particular match-up is an exciting one to open up with," senior Molly Hamrick said. "We can always expect Brown to be a fierce competitor and we knew Ohio State would be a fast addition to the annual event. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to race such great crews and we're excited to keep working hard and see how the season progresses."
The third-ranked Princeton open first varsity defeated Ohio State by more than three seconds to close a full morning of competition between three programs who hope to meet again in Indianapolis at the NCAA Championships. The Tigers claimed their sixth straight Class of 1987 Trophy over Brown by 3.8 seconds; they have now won 18 of the 27 competitions, including 10 of the last 11.
"Our plan was to focus on each aspect of the race, one step at a time," head coach Lori Dauphiny said. "There were some shaky points, but they pulled it off. It was a very tight race, and both Ohio State and Brown moved in on us, but we responded, which was nice to see. Both of those programs are very strong and it was a great race to start the season."
Each of the three squads won one of the three national championship format races. The Ohio State second varsity, which took second at the 2012 NCAA Championships, topped Princeton by just over five seconds in 6:51.4, while the Tigers finished in 6:56.5 to defeat Brown by more than 13 seconds.
"We had a good race, and Ohio State was clearly the stronger crew in the middle of the race," Dauphiny said of the 2V competition. "I thought it was a good race. It was what I expected, and they need to keep working, just like everybody else."
Brown had an impressive showing in the fours, topping 2012 NCAA V4 champion Ohio State in 7:52.9. Princeton put up a good performance against the Buckeyes, finishing in 7:58.9 to fall just a second short of Ohio State for second.
Princeton won both the third varsity (7:10.7) and B4 races (7:50.5) to open the morning competition on Lake Carnegie. It will be a while before Princeton returns; the Tigers will head to Ridgefield Park, N.J., next weekend to take on Columbia. From there, they will race two more times on the road before returning home April 27 to face Dartmouth and Penn for the Class of 1984 Plaque.
Dauphiny is optimistic that Princeton will bring a stronger squad to Lake Carnegie that day, thanks in part to the competitive races it faced today.
"We had mixed results, but I thought it was a good opener," she said. "We had close racing, which was good for experience. We are still a work in progress throughout the program, so I don’t put too much emphasis on any single result."
"It was amazing to get back out there for our "last-first" race as seniors and our very first spring 2013 race as a team," said senior Gabby Cole. "As usual Brown proved to be tough and classy competitors and we're looking forward to seeing them again at the Ivy Championship for some more fierce racing.
"One of the most magical parts of the day was after the race listening to the support and encouragement from the shore," Cole added. "It really reminds us how lucky we all are to have such a loyal alliance of friends, families, coaches, and enthusiasts. Truly, it was a proud moment to be a Tiger."
Class of 1987 Trophy: Varsity Eight
Ohio State 6:43.8
Ohio State 6:51.4
Ohio State 7:57.8
Princeton 4V 7:34.4
Ohio State (frosh) 7:45.3
Varsity Four 'B'
Ohio State 8:00.3