Colgate Retains Seneca Cup

The age old tradition of the Seneca Cup continued on the Seneca Canal in Geneva, NY two weeks ago. Colgate decisively regained possession of the Cup at last year’s incarnation of the annual contest between the men of Colgate and Hobart. This year, the water was flat with a stiff headwind – great conditions for the heavy Raider men’s Varsity 8. Having fallen to the Statesmen the previous weekend at the Knecht Cup, the Colgate men had a bone to pick with their arch-rivals.

The day of racing featured five events, some more exciting than others. Two races were contested in the Fours, with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) joining the former race. Hobart took a quick jump in the Varsity Fours race, but was soon countered by a strong team of Raiders who powered through and won the contest by a decisive margin. The Second Varsity Four was also won by Colgate, posting a similar margin of victory. Both Raider crews finished the races comfortably, psychologically breaking their competitors early.

The Novice 8 squared off with teams from Hobart and RIT, starting to an early lead, but followed closely by RIT the whole way. In the last 50 meters, the Tigers pushed hard, but their efforts were in vain, as the Raiders took the tape by one boat-length. The Second Varsity 8 raced with two Hobart crews, beating both of them by a large margin.

The hallmark event of the day,

the Varsity 8, was a nail-biting experience featuring Colgate and Hobart crews battling to the bitter end. The Raiders started fast, moving to a lead of about three-quarters of a boat-length. Hobart executed strategic surges through the middle of the course, none of any great consequence. Both crews started their sprints with 700 meters to go, a decision that proved hopeful for the home team, as they gained ground on the Raiders. But Colgate was simply too strong, preserving a 0.43-second decision over Hobart at the finish line. This marks the first time that Colgate has defended the Seneca Cup on Hobart’s course, as well as the first time that the Raiders have swept the event entirely. Such a dominating victory is great for team morale, especially after a tough break at the Knecht Cup.

Last weekend, the Raider women’s crew raced against Bucknell and Buffalo in the pouring rain and a strong head current on the Susquehanna River in Lewisburg, PA. The contest has become somewhat of a rivalry between the three schools in recent years, with the Colgate and Buffalo women battling at many regattas during both fall and spring seasons.

The Varsity 8 took line honors by a large margin, showing their experience and prowess. Buffalo crossed more than 10 seconds behind the Raider women, with Bucknell close behind. The bye week that the women enjoyed last week had noticeable positive effects, as Colgate was back in its groove, rested up and revived after a tough weekend at the Knecht Cup.

The next event featured both Second Varsity 8 crews and Lightweights at once. The Bucknell Lightweight women had an extremely strong showing, taking a 12-second victory over the Colgate women, who crossed the finish line well in front of the Buffalo Second Varsity and Lightweights, respectively.

The conditions provided a tough race for the Varsity Fours, and it showed. The finishing times cover a large spread, noting a difficulty had by all. Colgate came up short, falling to crews from both Bucknell and Buffalo. The Novices had a strong race, where they followed closely behind the Bucknell women. Finishing two seconds behind their Patriot League counterparts, the women held strong though the whole race, consistently extending a lead over Buffalo, who crossed the finish line more than 25 seconds behind.

Next week, the men and women will compete in the Patriot League Championship Regatta on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, MA. Colgate is the defending champion in the men’s Novice 8.