BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Lehigh rowing team looks to continue its strong momentum when it hosts Lafayette in the River Cup on the Lehigh River in Allentown. Racing on Saturday will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. The Mountain Hawks look to continue their dominance over the Leopards after capturing last year’s overall River Cup, 35-26.
“Outside of championship racing, the team looks forward to this race each year because of the connection it brings to the alumni and the tradition of the program,” said Lehigh head coach Brian Conley.
Lehigh’s women captured won the Varsity Eight race last year to win the River Cup, but the Men’s Varsity Eight fell defeat. However, the Mountain Hawks bounced back to capture the overall team trophy. After struggling at the onset, the Women’s Varsity Eight came back to win by more than 11 seconds with a time of 6:28.60. The Mountain Hawks went on to take first place in five events overall.
“We are excited to race on our own river and see who is the better crew on the Lehigh River,” said Conley. “Since we don't have any other races at home, this race brings things to a little more personal level for the team since it’s our home for practice and race preparation.”
Last week, Lehigh enjoyed a solid all-around performance at the Knecht Cup, sending two crews (Women’s Freshmen Eight and Men’s Varsity Eight) to the Petite Finals.
“The fact that we put two crews in the Petite Finals this year shows we’re getting faster as a program,” said Conley. “We’ve been really focused on rowing within ourselves and abilities; when we do that, we find faster results. The freshmen women and the varsity men showed they’ve been learning these things, then went out and found success.”
The team has shifted its attention to Lafayette and has one goal, to win the overall trophy along with the individual men’s and women’s trophies.
“I think the only outcome the team feels would be a success is to bring all three trophies to Lehigh,” said Conley. “Currently, Lehigh and Lafayette each have a trophy from the varsity eight races last year and Lehigh was able to have enough points to retain the overall River Cup, so to bring both varsity cups home will guarantee the overall comes home too. The team has been getting more and more focused as the season goes on and having the River Cup on the schedule before going to championship races gives the added focus we need.”
The Lehigh women will return to action next Sunday in the Patriot League Championships on the Cooper River in Camden, Conn. Both squads will then be in action at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia from May 13-14.