Crew victorious at regatta

After practicing through a week’s worth of snow and wind, the Williams crew team found warmer temperatures and more pleasant skies this weekend at Worcester. Along with the weather, Williams also found victory on the 2000-meter course.

The men’s team began the day well with a solid performance by the varsity eight (Tony Salerno ’00, Stokely Weinberg ’02, Matt Fineman ’00, Geordie MeClelland ’00, Dennis DeBassio ’00, Dave Noe ’01, Johathan Kallay ’00, stroke Dan Werbel-Sanborn ’02, cox Emily Boer ’00). Coming off a disappointing loss to Hobart last week, the men showed their racing spirit in defeating both MIT and Connecticut College.

The race was close, with MIT and Williams trading the leading edge for the first 1200 meters. However, once Williams gained a two-seat margin, its opponents must have sensed defeat – Williams pushed itself hard and crossed the finish line about one length ahead. Conn College placed third.

This victory marked the first for the varsity men’s team since the spring on 1998. Kallay commented, “While these are not the toughest crews we will meet this season, this is an important win for us, setting a tone that we hope to maintain for the rest of the season.”

Following the men’s race, the Williams women took to the course, racing their varsity eight (Heather Barney ’01, Lisa Cohan ’02, Celina Zlotoff ’01, Rachael De Souza ’03, Sara Kate May ’00, Shoshana Clark ’02, Izzy Lowell ’02, stroke Ginel Hill ’00, cox Carol Lynn Higgins ’02).

Others on the line were MIT, UNH, Conn College and WPI. Williams burst off the line with a strong start, but both MIT and UNH managed to hang with them a few seats behind.

However, after successfully executing two offensive moves, the Williams women clearly controlled the race and by the 1000-meter mark they had a solid lead. The crew finished with open water over all other crews; it had an 11-second margin over the second place finisher, UNH (last year’s New England champions), and placed 14 seconds ahead of MIT.

Another impressive Williams race was had in the men’s junior varsity event. The Williams JV eight (Mike Paarlberg ’02, Greg Thielker ’02, Derek Ward ’02, Mike Witten ’03, Salerno, Fineman, Haynes Cooney ’00, stroke Mark Acton ’00, cox Rebecca Cover ’00) battled MIT and Conn College closely throughout most of the race.

Williams came off the starting line about three seats back but nevertheless remained poised. Nearing the halfway point, it took a decisive move to put itself two seats in front of the competition. Its strong sprint at the end attested to the group’s fitness and, as a result, it finished well ahead of the other crews.

The JV women’s boat (Stephanie Pirishis ’02, Becca Parker-Johnson ’02, Maya Garcia ’02, Alison Booth ’00, Kate Geier ’00, Kathryn Hibbert ’02, Kristin Wikelius ’01, stroke Nicole Draghi ’00, cox Emilie Mathieu ’02) had a challenging race this weekend but nonetheless showed that its members too are real fighters. Racing UNH and MIT, Williams started well and came off the line aggressively, fighting hard throughout the race and in the end placing third.

Along with experienced rowers, the novices, too, had successful races at Worcester. Despite a frustrating race in the rain and lightning last weekend, in which the officials failed to record an accurate time for the boat, the novice women’s eight had a stellar race.

The women first-years (Diane Reis, Anna Crowley, Carmel Lyons, Marianna Maurer, Randi Lewis, Liz Mygatt, Emma Herries, stroke Kimmie Kemper, cox Binny McCague) plowed through their competition and crossed the line looking sharp, grabbing first place in the event. The race suggested a promising future for this boat.

The novice women, all first-years, also boated a four (Anri Wheeler, Eliza Myrie, Michelle Kron, stroke Debbie Chen, cox Jackie Dinzey). In this race, between MIT and Williams, the boat had a difficult start, and MIT pulled ahead. Williams fought back and gained water on MIT throughout the race. Battling a tough headwind, though, the crew placed second.

The Williams squad also supports a strong novice men’s program, and the novice men clearly showed their tenacity on the course. In the eights event, MIT dominated the race and finished well ahead – the close race of the event was for second and third place between Williams and Conn College.

Conn College held the lead over Williams (Luke Hyde ’03, Phil Thompson ’03, Dave Goodman ’03, Andy Edstrom ’03, Phil Bartels ’03, Noah Coburn ’02, Matt Jungers ’03, stroke Angus Beal ’03, cox Evan Hiller ’03) and held off a late Williams charge, placing second to the Ephs’ third. The novice men also boated a four which, having to race in the afternoon as the conditions worsened, placed second.

Overall, Williams had a very successful weekend and clearly dominated the regatta. Next Saturday, Williams will host Wesleyan and Amherst at Lake Onota in Pittsfield for the Little Three Regatta.

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