The Hamilton College Continentals retained the Gilman Cup, Gilman Bowl and Houlihan Cup in races held on the Erie Canal in Rome on Saturday.
Hamlton, St. Lawrence University, Vassar College, Union College and the University of Rochester raced on a 2,000-meter course with flat water on a flooded area in the morning. Conditions were much tougher in the afternoon with 9 to 12 mph headwinds.
The Continentals captured the Gilman Cup and the Houlihan Cup by taking first place in one of the two varsity 8 heats ahead of Union and St. Lawrence. Hamilton cruised to a time of 6:21.9 while St. Lawrence finished in 6:28.89 and Union was close behind in 6:30.86. The Houlihan Cup is named in memory of Matt Houlihan '03, who passed away while attending Hamilton. The Continentals went on to an easy win over Vassar in the varsity 8 grand final with a time of 7:02.12 to the Brewers' time of 7:42.55.
"This weekend's race lineup included four New York teams," head coach Jim Lister said. "It was also a cup race in which we race for the right to have the shared cup in one's possession for the year. The shared cup races are between our program and Union and St. Lawrence.
"This weekend all of our boats showed the maturation we were looking to see from all the hard training the past few weeks. All boats are finding another gear of efficiency just in time for the final push towards the end of the season. All men's and women's varsity 8+ and second varsity 8+ boats led wire-to-wire. We defended all of our cup races and we return the hardware back to our erg room. This was a big team statement for each boat to get the job done."
Hamilton's time of 6:36.79 in the second varsity 8 easily outpaced the Saints (6:52.62) and the Dutchmen (7:00.14). The Continentals defeated Vassar in a head-to-head matchup in the third varsity 8 as Hamilton recorded a time of 7:14.29 and the Brewers finished in 7:58.12.
"The men's novice eight put together a fantastic race and kept their speed up all the way through, winning by 43 seconds," Lister said. "There was no cup to defend, but the win is worth noting the depth of our program."
The Continentals are back on the Erie Canal on Saturday, April 27 when they will race against Ithaca College and Division I Colgate University.
"We will be fine-tuning this week in preparation for many fast teams coming to race in our third and final home regatta including Marist, Ithaca and Colgate," Lister said. "This is a great opportunity to compare speeds with crews from different collegiate divisions."