Men’s lightweight rowing, ranked No. 1 again after its stellar winning streak in recent meets, competed at EARC Sprints in Worcester, Massachusetts over the weekend: its last meet until National Championships in two weeks.
The Lions won their first varsity and second varsity eight races to win the Ralph T. Jope Cup and be crowned Ivy League champions for the first time in 18 years and only the second time ever.
All eight Ivies, in addition to MIT and Navy, competed over the weekend for the Jope Cup, which is awarded annually by MIT to the lightweight team with the most points scored across all boats (first, second, and third varsity eights).
Harvard, which briefly toppled Columbia from first place in the USRowing Coaches poll, is the most frequent winner and also won last year. This year, Columbia’s combined victories in the first and second varsity eights won it the cup.
The Lions’ first, second, and third varsity eights qualified with ease for their respective grand finals, while few enough crews were in the fourth varsity eight race that there were no qualifying heats. Both the third and fourth varsity eights placed fifth in their respective races.
The second varsity eight kept its undefeated season alive in both its qualifying heat and the grand final, both of which it won by about three seconds. The first varsity eight also won both its races by this margin.
After Columbia’s standout season, such victories are not undue, but even two years ago, during the run-up to the team’s victory at nationals, it did not win gold at EARC Sprints.
With their win, the Lions receive an automatic bid to IRA National Championships in New Jersey in two weeks. Should they continue to row as they have been this season, their chances of earning back the national title are looking better and better.