Lightweights Win Jope Cup for Team Supremacy at Eastern Sprints

Yale celebrates the Jope Cup. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Yale celebrates the Jope Cup. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
WORCESTER, Mass. — The Yale lightweights won either silver or gold medals in all five of their races on Sunday at EARC Sprints on Lake Quinsigamond. Silver medals in the third, second and first varsity eights propelled Yale to the top of the overall team points chart, earning the Bulldogs the Jope Cup for overall program supremacy on the day. All 41 Yale lightweight athletes competing came away with medals. The Jope Cup win was the first for Yale since 2016, and the Bulldogs' fourth Jope Cup in the last eight years.
 
In the morning heats, all three Yale crews racing won their respective races, qualifying them for the afternoon grand finals. 
 
Yale's varsity four entry closed the morning of racing, but opened the day of Yale's medaling, with a strong silver medal finish, only losing to a heavyweight crew from Northeastern.
 
Yale's fourth varsity eight opened the afternoon of finals with a wire-to-wire win for a gold medal, capping off an undefeated season with a six-second win over rival Harvard.
 
Yale's third varsity eight was next to race. Navy was quick off the line and Yale went with them, pushing away from the rest of the field. The Bulldogs spent the remainder of the race taking back seats and fighting for the lead, but Navy held off the relentless charge from Yale. The two Blue rivals left the field 11 seconds behind as they fought for the gold. Yale's silver medal finish opened up the Jope Cup scoring with 10 points for Yale. 
 
Next, Yale's second varsity eight was racing for the medals against an Ivy opponent whom they had not raced during the regular season. That opponent was Cornell, and though Yale was seeded first going into the regatta, Cornell possessed the larger margins against common opponents. Out from under the I-290 bridge, Yale established a lead the Bulldogs would hold through the 1200 meter mark. Eventually the Big Red crew managed to drive through the Elis in the second half of the race. In the closing meters, Yale held off a charging Penn crew and won the silver medal. This added 11 points the Yale's Jope scoring, and now the Bulldogs had a lead heading into the varsity race, with the most points at stake.
 
Yale's first varsity eight concluded the afternoon of racing. The morning's heat had provided an unexpected outcome as undefeated No. 1 Cornell failed to qualify for the Grand Final, opening the door to the fourth-ranked Bulldogs, fifth-ranked Quakers, and eighth-ranked Georgetown. With Cornell trailing throughout, Yale held a slight lead over Georgetown and Penn for the distance, and all three crews moved onto the Grand Final.
 
The wind on Quinsigamond posed a challenge for all crews, and off the line it was Penn who established a strong lead, up to and a little over a length, with Yale making steady progress on the leading Quaker crew while successfully holding off moves from Princeton, Navy, Georgetown and Columbia. As the field stretched to the finish line, Penn continued to lead and Yale successfully checked Navy's last bid for silver, which went to Yale, along with 13 more Jope Cup points for a final Jope total of 34. Penn, who also had a strong day, finished second with 32 points. 
 
This closes another chapter of the lightweight's full team efforts, with the goal of bringing the Jope Cup back to Derby achieved, along with two other team points trophies, the Van Amringe Trophy with Navy and the Vogel Cup with Harvard and Princeton. 
 
And the season's not over: the varsity eight will compete for the national championship in Lake Natoma in two weeks, along with a coxed four and a coxless four.