PHILADELPHIA - One week after nearly breaking a 20-year drought in the Matthews-Leonard Cup race with Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania men's lightweight rowing team almost pulled out a similar feat Saturday on the Schuylkill River with the Dodge Cup at stake. Against two of the top ranked teams in the nation, the Quakers topped No. 6 Columbia, but fell to No. 4 Yale by less than two seconds for the Dodge Cup.
Yale won the Dodge Cup for the seventh straight season, but it wasn't without a fight from the Quakers. Penn came into the race ranked No. 9 in the nation, but went head-to-head with two boats ranked within the top six in the country. Yale looked every bit the part of a superior boat, breaking out to an early lead, but while Columbia fell off the pace, it was the Quakers who met the Bulldogs stroke for stroke. But despite opening a lead on the No. 6-ranked Lions, Yale was able to stay ahead of the Quakers. The Bulldogs finished in 5:54.3. For the second straight week, Penn was the hard luck runner up, just a few seats behind at 5:56.8. Columbia was a more distant third at 6:02.2.
Penn was also the runner-up in each of the other races. The second varstiy race the Bulldogs got a sizeable advantage on both boats, but Penn was able to keep it close while open water seperated the Lions from the rest of the field. Yale was the only boat to break six minutes at 5:59.0, Penn came in at 6:04.8 and Columbia crossed the line at 6:15.4.
The third varsity and the novice 8 each finished behind their Yale counterparts. The third varsity topped Yale's second freshman with a time of 6:16.9 to the Bulldogs' time of 6:25.6. But the Elis' third varsity was the winner with a finish of 6:07.2. The novice teams finished in similar fashion to the first varsity. Yale won in 6:06.2, followed by Penn at 6:11.4 and Columbia in third at 6:14.7.
In one week, the Quakers will head to Princeton, N.J., to take on the arch rival Tigers on Lake Carnegie for the Wood-Hammond Trophy. The Tigers have won the race each year since 2006.