Sporting Life

Spring sports highlights

Alex Goldberger ’08 is an Olympics researcher at NBC.

Tim Bennett

Tim Bennett

Rowers celebrate another national title. View full image

Men’s tennis: In high school, Connecticut native Marc Powers ’13 was in the top 20 on the junior tennis circuit. He had grown up dreaming about playing for Duke or Stanford. But when Powers visited Yale in October of 2008 with two fellow recruits, John Huang ’13 and Daniel Hoffman ’13, he devised a new plan. “Dan’s sister goes to Princeton and he was nearly committed there, and John was thinking about staying out West,” Powers says, “but I made up my mind during the recruiting trip.”

By the end of the weekend, the three had determined to go Blue, and they kept in constant touch until their “likely” letters came from Yale. “We figured if we came together, we could have a big impact on the team,” Powers says.

In their first year as Bulldogs, Powers, Huang, and Hoffman occupied three of Yale’s top four singles spots as the team racked up a 5–2 Ivy League record, its best finish since 1993. Powers had an even better showing individually, going 7–0 in league play and becoming the first player in history ever to win the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year awards in the same season.

Women’s crew: The spring sports standout was women’s crew, which brought home a national championship. Three members of this year’s varsity eight—Taylor Ritzel ’10, Tess Gerrand ’10, and Alice Henly ’10—had also rowed in the boats that won NCAA championships in 2007 and 2008, and hopes for a third title were high. But in mid-April the outlook was bleak. At the Eisenburg Cup at Princeton, Yale lost to the Tigers by seven seconds and to Virginia by three. “We had a pretty awful race,” says Ritzel, the captain. “But I think it was the best thing to happen to us. We knew they were fast, but the fact that we lost by that much really lit a fire under us.”

Yale rallied, winning the Eastern Sprints—the race that determines the Ivy League championship. Then, at the NCAAs, they found themselves in a heat that featured Princeton, Virginia, top-seeded California, and defending champion Stanford. But Yale seized an early lead, taking a half-second advantage over Princeton and more than two seconds over Virginia through the first quarter of the 2,000-meter race. Virginia mounted a late charge, but the Bulldogs crossed the line first.

Men’s lacrosse: The 10–4 men’s lacrosse team had its best season in nearly two decades and were ranked ninth in the country after a five-game April winning streak. With a dramatic win over Harvard in the final game of the regular season, the Bulldogs secured a four-way share of the Ivy League title. Members of Yale’s last three Ivy League championship teams (1988–90) were honored at halftime at Reese Stadium, and the 2010 Bulldogs delivered a triumph worthy of their elders. Erasing a 6–3 third-quarter deficit, Yale won 9–8 to give coach Andy Shay his first home win over Harvard in four tries.

Golf: Yale found individual successes on the fairways. Alyssa Roland ’11 shot a final-round 73—on her 21st birthday—to win the Ivy League championship by one stroke. Thomas McCarthy ’11 was voted Ivy Player of the Year.

Baseball: There was a time not long ago when Brook Hart ’11 seemed destined for the football captaincy. But the erstwhile starting quarterback—who lost that job to Nebraska transfer Patrick Witt ’12 last season—made the most of his demotion. Hart joined the baseball team as a starting pitcher and delivered a two-hit shutout in his third start. He cooled off later in the season, finishing 3–3 with a 6.26 ERA. Still, the outlook for Hart is sunnier on the mound than under center, where he plans to return this fall as Witt’s backup. 

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