ITHACA, N.Y. - A late surge by the University of Pennsylvania men's lightweight team led to a photo finish for the Matthews-Leonard Cup. After the officials reviewed the tape, Cornell was declared the victor Saturday at the Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca, N.Y.
Facing headwinds throughout the morning, it was Harvard that got out to a comfortable lead in the varsity race. The Crimson kept their distance and won with a time of 6:14.3. But it was a fight to the finish line between Cornell and Penn, the two teams vying for the Matthews-Leonard Cup. Cornell actually held a sizable lead with open water seperating the two boats with just 400 meters to go. However, the Quakers made a valiant push and as the finish line grew near, the boats were side-by-side. When they crossed the finish, it was still unclear who would be taking home the cup.
When the officials reviewed the tape, they ruled Cornell as the winner with a time of 6:25.6. Penn's official time was 6:26.1. In the first season under head coach Nick Baker, it was nearly Penn's first Matthews-Leonard Cup victory in 20 years. The Quakers have not won the cup since a victory in Ithaca in 1990.
In the first race of the morning, the freshman placed third to Harvard and Cornell. The Crimson won the race with a time of 6:27.5 and were followed by the Big Red at 6:30.2. Penn came across the finish in 6:42.8.
The second varsity and third varsity boats also finished third. The second varsity struggled throughout as they fell behind early and couldn't do much to catch back up. Harvard won decisively at 6:22.5. Cornell rowed to a finish of 6:28.8, while the Quakers came in at 6:42.1.
The third varsity race was tight between Cornell and Harvard. The Big Red finished in 6:33.2 to edge Harvard's time of 6:33.8. Penn was off the pace of their Ivy counterparts at 6:44.2.
Next Saturday, Penn returns to the Schuylkill River to host Columbia and Yale for the Dodge Cup.