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Assistant coach Bill Manning poses with the victorious 3V and 4V lightweight boats.
Courtesy: Princeton Crew

Lightweights Take Sprints Bronze, Are Lone Team To Medal In All Finals

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 05/15/2016
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The Princeton men's lightweight rowing team has talked about its depth since the preseason, and that depth showed up in impressive fashion during the postseason. Princeton was the lone program in either the lightweight or heavyweight field to medal in each of its grand finals, a run that included a bronze medal in the varsity eight final and a pair of golden efforts.

"It’s another step up from what we’ve been doing the last couple of years," head coach Marty Crotty said. "At first, it was a medal or two, and then the top three medaled last year. This year we had two boats full of winners and all boats medaled. It's very promising."

Princeton won gold medals in both the 3V and 4V races, silver in the 5V and bronze in the 1V and 2V finals during a windy Sunday session on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. It was the third straight year that the Tigers medaled in the grand final, as well as the fourth in five years.

This final basically held to seeding, as top-ranked Yale was the first boat to gain a noticeable lead, and the undefeated Bulldogs never let anybody else get into a gold medal showdown. While the Bulldogs were putting together their victorious run, the drama was left to Columbia, Princeton and Cornell (seeds 2, 3 and 4) to battle for the remaining two spots on the podium.

Columbia, which topped Princeton by six seconds in early April, held the advantage early in that three-team showdown, though the Tigers grabbed a lead midway through and made a serious challenge for silver. While the Lions ultimately pushed for second, Cornell made a huge run over the final 750 meters to threaten for a medal of its own.

Princeton wasn't about to let that happen. The Tigers held up in the furious pace and fought off the last Big Red surge to finish in 5:46.793 to top Cornell by about .3 of a second. Princeton finished about 1.2 seconds behind the Lions — a significant jump from the margin in April — and about 3.7 seconds behind Yale.

"I just think the varsity race was a really premier type of lightweight race," Crotty said. "Yale is a front-running crew that can go really fast. Three boats did really well to keep up, and Yale just made the race really fast. I have no regrets for today. Sometimes the guys come off the water and they’re just trying to feel good. The guys executed everything. It was good even speed over the course.

"They came off ready to go back to work for IRAs," Crotty added. "They asked if we would practice tomorrow. Above all, I think they’re excited to row together. They like to come down and do what they love to do. Thatt’s very clear to me, as a coach who goes out and coaches that boat every day."

The 2V fell right in the middle of two major showdowns, each of which occurred with open water between them and the other boats. Yale held off Cornell by less than a tenth of a second for silver, while Harvard beat Columbia by less than second for fourth. Those two duels happened about 10 seconds apart, and Princeton rowed on its own in the middle for bronze.

The two golden boats were the 3V, which capped an undefeated season in the recently dedicated Fin Meislahn boat with a victory over Cornell by about two seconds. The 4V had one of the more dominant finals, as that crew topped Navy by about six seconds.

"Bill Manning is primarily responsible for the two boats that won," Crotty said of his assistant coach. "He’s no stranger to winning races at Sprints. Good for him to get back to his winning ways. He did a bang-up job with the 3V and 4V."

The Princeton 5V brought home the only silver medal of the day, as it topped Harvard by less than a second in its race, which Cornell won.

Princeton will now take three weeks off before making the short trip to Mercer Lake for the 2016 IRA Championships.

VARSITY EIGHT
1 – Yale 5:43.061
2 – Columbia 5:45.514
3 – Princeton 5:46.793
4 – Cornell 5:47.108
5 – Penn 5:49.423
6 – Navy 5:53.517

SECOND VARSITY EIGHT
1 – Yale 6:02.809
2 – Cornell 6:02.893
3 – Princeton 6:07.757
4 – Harvard 6:12.451
5 – Columbia 6:13.378
6 – Navy 6:15.192

THIRD VARSITY EIGHT
1 – Princeton 6:01.900
2 – Cornell 6:03.927
3 – Yale 6:07.501
4 – Navy 6:11.885
5 – Harvard 6:14.538
6 – Penn 6:17.374

FOURTH VARSITY EIGHT
1 – Princeton 6:06.973
2 – Navy 6:12.983
3 – Cornell 6:13.147
4 – Yale 6:20.751
5 – Harvard 6:21.039
6 – Penn 6:43.255

FIFTH VARSITY EIGHT
1 – Cornell 6:13.037
2 – Princeton 6:17.177
3 – Harvard 6:18.022
4 – Navy 6:19.384
5 – Princeton 6V 6:25.575

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