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The men's heavyweight crew team will take to the river against Columbia and Princeton this weekend in Penn's first spring race against Ivy teams. (Angie Louie/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

This season, it seems at times that Penn sports teams can't escape bad weather. The same holds true for the Penn heavyweight crew team. Last weekend, in a trip to California, the squad encountered "the worst weather" captain Keith Sutter had seen in Penn's three years of competing at the San Diego Crew Classic. But this Saturday, the bad weather blues might finally end, as Penn heads to New York to face Columbia and Princeton in a race for the Childs Cup. While the forecast calls for rain, rain and more rain before and after the weekend, the skies look to be clear on race day. The Quakers, though, will need more than just good weather in order to defeat the nationally ranked Lions and Tigers. Princeton, currently fourth in the U.S. Rowing Collegiate Coaches' Poll, is undefeated in its two races this season. No. 16 Columbia also lays claim to an impressive record, having won all four of its spring races. "We know that Princeton's fast. They've been fast for a number of years now, and we're expecting to battle them," Penn senior Doug Sieg said. "Even Columbia, they've been coming on in the past couple of years. They're going to be right in the race with us. "It's going to be a dogfight." But No. 6 Penn has proved itself capable of coming out on top and defeating high-caliber opponents. In last weekend's race, the Quakers, then ranked No. 8 in the coaches' poll, defeated then-No. 5 Wisconsin and finished behind only No. 1 California and No. 3 Washington. And while Penn had hoped to finish higher in the standings, the team knows that its California races provided a gauge of where the Quakers stand early in the season. "We feel those races better prepared us for this coming weekend, allowing us to take it up another notch," Penn senior Nick Tripician said. As the Red and Blue begin their Ivy races, they will need that extra edge against competition whose caliber Tripician compared to basketball's Big 10. But for now, the Quakers aren't worried about the rest of the season. They're not focused on last weekend or national rankings. Their focus is this weekend, one river and their own improvement. "We want to get a little cleaner and quicker off the start and concentrate on getting faster as we go," Sieg said. "We're planning on racing clean and racing hard and seeing where we stand against one of the top teams in the country."

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