Yale Finishes Fifth at IRA National Championship

Yale's first varsity eight. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Yale's first varsity eight. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

FOLSOM, Calif. – The 2019 season has come to an end for the Yale lightweights with a fifth-place finish in the Grand Final of the IRA National Championship Regatta on sunny Lake Natoma Sunday morning. Cornell finished first, earning the title of 2019 National Champions.

The Elis -- Sprints silver medalists in the 1V, 2V and 3V, and Jope Cup champions overall -- were unable to find the good rhythm that had served them so well in Worcester. The first indication was the heat on Friday, where despite a good start and commanding lead the varsity could not hold off Cornell in the second thousand, putting Yale into second place and into lane 4 for Sunday's final.

Typically a strong-starting crew, the Bulldogs failed to capitalize in the first 500, and it was Cornell who took a commanding 2+ second lead on the pack, with Princeton, Columbia, Penn and Yale all chasing the leaders.

Yale put up a valiant effort battling it out with Pennsylvania and Columbia but ultimately came fifth, ahead of the Naval Academy. The Elis' final time was 5:49.9.

The Yale coxed four successfully proved dominance over Harvard and Dartmouth, finishing first in their petite final with a time of 6:33.1, placing seventh overall. The four without coxswain finished third in the petite final with a time of 6:20.2.

Captain Matthew Matejka said, "The other seniors and I have put so much into this year, and we've seen so many positive things going on all season, it's hard to process the result from today. It wasn't what we wanted, but you know what? This season was a great step forward for all of us and I know the squad will be in awesome shape in the years to come."

Full results can be found here.

As the championship season concludes, the Y150 bids farewell to 13 outgoing seniors: Owen Chang, Robert Colgate, Haben Gebrewahed, Matthew Jones, Kevin Koste, Michael Li, Matthew Matejka, Nicholas Matthes, Raymond O'Mahony, Nicolai Parks, Simon Sharp, and Jordan Young.