PHILADELPHIA – When it’s closing time on a season, and the IRA Championships are getting closer, it is important to be gaining on your competition and putting your team in position to peak at the appropriate time. On a wet and windy day on the Schuylkill River, No. 13 Penn made strides in that direction in its final Cup race of the season with No. 11 Cornell. While the winning time in all five races favored the Big Red, in the three races featuring eights, the Quakers closed the gap considerably from last weekend’s EARC Sprints showings, showing the Big Red – and the rowing community that the Quakers will have a say in proceeding next weekend at the IRA Championships.
In the Varsity Eight, Penn turned an 8.7-second margin of defeat last weekend into a 2.5-second one on its home course, finishing in 5:32.7 to Cornell’s 5:30.3. The win is the 22nd all-time in the Madeira Cup for the Big Red, who still trail Penn’s 35 wins in the all-time series.
The Second Varsity Eight also made a big leap in the standings, closing to within 3.7 seconds of the Big Red after finishing over 10 seconds back last time out at Sprints. On Friday, Cornell’s 2V was the winner in 5:41.0, while Penn was second in 5:44.7, unable to overcome a run-in with the buoy near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.
Last weekend at Sprints, Penn was 12.1 seconds behind Cornell in the Frosh Eight. Today, that gap was closed considerably as the Quakers were second to the Big Red by 6.2 seconds – the deficit cut nearly in half.
The closest race of the day came in the Open Fours, Cornell edging the Quakers by 0.9 seconds in a frantic finish. Penn had three total boats in the race, and the second two were also in a tight battle, Penn’s B boat just eking out a 1.2-second cushion over Penn’s C boat.
The Quakers will row for a national championship next weekend in Sacramento at the IRA National Championships Regatta May 31-June 2.
1. Cornell - 5:30.6
2. Penn - 5:33.0
1. Cornell - 5:41.3
2. Penn - 5:44.9
1. Cornell - 5:49.3
2. Penn - 5:55.5
1. Cornell - 6:27.3
2. Penn - 6:36.5
1. Cornell - 6:26.0
2. Penn - 6:26.9
3. Penn - 6:50.6
4. Penn - 6:51.