There is certainly no lack of motivation for the Princeton men’s lightweights right now. There is one reminder after another of just how closely packed the field is more than a month out of Eastern Sprints.
Last weekend, the Columbia men’s lightweight rowing team edged out Princeton by .1 of a second on its own race course to stay unbeaten this season. The margin of victory, which was so close that it was decided by video review, was enough to move the Lions from seventh to second in the latest national poll.
It was a five-spot jump, and that wasn’t even the biggest move of the week by a Top-10 team. Navy jumped six spots in the poll, going from 12th to sixth, and the Midshipmen actually lost to both Columbia and Princeton in that race.
“Being in the varsity boat this spring, I think we are all aware of how tightly packed the league is,” junior Casey Ward said during the latest edition of TigerCast. “On any given day, you could come out and have your worst day and be out of the ‘A’ final at Sprints. But you could also have your best day and potentially win that race. That is how tight the league is going to be, and being a half of a percent off your best just isn’t going to cut it this year.”
That level of focus and attention to detail will need to be there every Saturday, although that has been the case recently in the Platt Trophy, which resumes Saturday morning at 9 am on Lake Carnegie. While Princeton leads the all-time series 36-13, both teams have split the last 12 meetings. Cornell has won the last two, including a win by only .3 of a second the last time the two met on Lake Carnegie (2012).
Cornell is currently ranked third nationally and opened its season with impressive wins over both Harvard and Penn last weekend. The Big Red are two spots above Princeton, which fell to fifth despite losing by a foot or two.
“Given last weekend’s result, and how disappointing it was to lose by .1 of a second to a good crew like Columbia,” Ward said, “this weekend against Cornell, we’re going to be facing a varsity crew like Cornell, which is very qualified and highly competitive, we have the opportunity to get right back on the horse. There is no off weekend. This is no weekend when you say this will be an easy race. It’s not true in this league.
“Every opponent has worked hard enough to deserve your respect,” he added.
9:00 AM - Fourth Varsity
9:20 AM - Third Varsity
9:40 AM - Second Varsity
10:00 AM - First Varsity - Platt Cup