KEY LINKS: Live Video l Compton Cup History
He may be the senior captain today, but Nick Mead was a sophomore when he felt a real turning point for this program — a turning point in the direction of 1V medals at both Sprints and IRAs the last two years.
“Two years ago, when we swept Harvard for the Compton Cup on Carnegie, that was a really special moment for the team,” Mead said. “In my mind, that represented a turning point when we realized we could contend with the top teams in the country. To win it again last year and go back-to-back for the first time in a half century was really important. It’s always on our minds how special it is to get a win against Harvard.”
If they broke a half-century of tradition last year, why not raise the stakes and go for more than 80 years this weekend? Princeton has not won three straight Compton Cups since the mid-1930s, when the Tigers won the first four meetings between the two tradition-rich programs.
Princeton led the series 4-0 at that point. Harvard now leads 62-16.
But the Crimson led 62-14 before Mead and his teammates sat in that varsity boat two years ago and completed a perfect morning for the Tigers. Princeton won every race, an early sign for a team that would go on to win its first of two straight Rowe Cups at Eastern Sprints.
“In order to build success for a long period of time, you need that kind of depth,” Mead said. “The coaching staff does a good job of making it clear that results in the 1V are important, but they are looking for success from boats in all classes. The Rowe Cup is very important for our team, but the Ten Eyck is something we have talked about a lot this year. It’s one of the reasons our team has had a constant improvement over these last six years is this focus on the guys on the bottom pushing up every year as they get older and better. That way, when you graduate a great class like the one we did last year, it doesn’t leave the team in ruins.”
The fourth-ranked Tigers know they will get another stiff test this weekend against the sixth-ranked Crimson, which is coming off an impressive win over Brown last weekend. Like Princeton, Harvard has built a deep team — in fact, the Crimson 2V was the only team to defeat the second Tiger boat during either the regular season or postseason last year — a trend that went all the way to the IRAs and often featured spectacular finishes.
Boats like the 2V and 3V (which won gold at IRAs last year) play a significant role in the development of the 1V each year.
“Having the boathouse-wide speed orders on Wednesdays play a big part in our success,” Mead said. “It allows guys to have an experience that really emulates what raceday is like when we have so few chances to go out against other boats.”
They will get one of those chances to race — and make more history — this Saturday.
After all, this is Harvard, and this is the Compton Cup.
SATURDAY, APRIL 15 • RACE SCHEDULE
Princeton Heavyweight Men vs. Harvard and MIT
9:00 AM – Fifth Varsity
9:15 AM – Fourth Varsity
9:30 AM – Third Varsity
9:45 AM – Second Varsity
10:00 AM – First Varsity – Compton Cup
Princeton Lightweight Women vs. Georgetown
10:15 AM – First Varsity – Class of 2006 Cup
10:35 AM – Second Varsity