In spite of a faster finish than their Cornell counterparts, the Dartmouth lightweight rowing team officially lost their dual meet with the Big Red Saturday in Ithaca, NY.
The Cornell coxswain filed a protest accusing Dartmouth’s varsity eight of straying from their lane, creating wake that might have frustrated Cornell’s sprint.
Race officials upheld the complaint and decided the crews would race again. Dartmouth accepted a disqualification rather than risk exacerbating an oarsman’s back injury.
“We were prepared to rerow,” Varsity Captain Doug Marple ’96 said. “But we were afraid if he rowed it would jeopardize his back for the whole season.”
The varsity boat was quick off the line and gained a few seats on Cornell in the first 500 meters. By the halfway mark, Dartmouth had broken contact with the other boat.
At this point the Dartmouth boat allegedly crossed into Cornell’s lane.
Despite a sloppy sprint, the Big Green finished three seats ahead of Cornell’s varsity.
Cornell Coach John Ferris, who had a side view, said he is “pretty sure” the incident cost his team the victory.
“It affected the outcome of the race,” he said. “My guess is that there was only about 10 feet between the Dartmouth oars and the Cornell boat. It was really close to a collision.”
Ferris said it was his coxswainwho made the decision to protest.
“It was a reasonable protest,” he said. “In this case there were at least three times when the Dartmouth boat moved over into the Cornell lane.”
Brian Myerholtz, the Cornell coxswain, said Dartmouth “rowed quite a bit of the second-half of the race in our lane. Rowing in front of someone creates a wake which tends to slow the other teams down.”
Morgan Soutter ’97 said he doubts “going into the other lane would give [Cornell] enough of an advantage to justify the upheld protest.”
Myerholtz said he is “not happy I had to do it, but at the same time I don’t regret it.”
The Cornell oarsmen declined to accept Dartmouth’s t-shirts after the disqualification was finalized.
Traditionally the losing eight forfeit their t-shirts to their winning counterparts.
Dartmouth coxswain Stephanie Yu ’97 said the Cornell team might not have felt right taking the shirts.
“When we crossed the finish line first you can’t really say we lost the race.”
Myerholtz said Cornell “didn’t feel it was a definite victory.”
Despite the universal dissatisfaction, there is no animosity between the two crews, Myerholtz said.
Dartmouth Coach Dick Grossman said despite being “very frustrated,” he is happy with the varsity’s performance.
“They’ve started to show some good speed. I think we can race comparable to anyone in the country,” he said.
Dartmouth won both freshman races but lost the JV race.