Williams earns six Little III crew victories

On Saturday evening, the Goodrich bells could be heard across campus – six rings for six Little Three crew victories. Earlier that day, the Williams men and women hosted their only home race, the Little Three Regatta with Amherst and Wesleyan.

Rowers had their share of exciting racing at Lake Onota, as three separate events were “come-back” victories. One of these was the novice women’s eights. The first-year Williams women (Diane Reis, Anna Crowley, Carmel Lyons, Marianna Maurer, Randi Lewis, Liz Mygatt, Emma Herries, stroke Kimmie Kemper and cox Binny McCague) raced two eights from Wesleyan and on from Amherst.

Only a few strokes into the race, a Williams rower lost control of her oar, causing the boat to fall behind considerably and lose its target point. The officials stopped the race moments later and aligned the boats for a restart.

In their second attempt to start the race, about 200 meters into the 2000-meter race, the Wesleyan B boat clashed oars with the eight from Amherst in an unsalvageable tangle. The officials were again forced to stop the race.

The third and final start occurred 1300 meters down the course. Williams and Wesleyan A immediately pulled ahead of the other crews, but were fighting for a solid lead throughout the truncated race. With 700 left to go, Wesleyan was only two seats behind, but the Ephs dug deep and widened the gap to four.

At the finish, Wesleyan gave it one last shot, pulling up to Williams, but Williams crossed the line three seconds ahead. The race was so close that the teams were not sure of the outcome until they received the report from the spectators on land.

Reis commented on her crew’s victory, saying, “When [we heard] the news [that we had won], we were all so excited, several of us literally started to cry. It had been an extremely hard-fought race; it was great for our boat to experience a really close race against the caliber of crew we’ll be seeing at New Englands and Champion.”

The novices were not the only crew to experience frustrating starts on Saturday — the varsity men’s eights race was not without its difficulties. The Williams crew (Stokely Weinberg ’02, Tony Salerno ’01, Greg Thielker ’02, Geordie McClelland ’00, Matt Fineman ’00, Haynes Cooney ’00, Jon Kallay ’00, stroke Dan Werbel-Sanborn ’02 and cox Emily Boer ’00) lined up at the start with eights from Amherst and Wesleyan.

As the officials signaled the beginning of the race, Williams experienced some technical problems that caused them to be left behind. However, after a solid regrouping pushed them ahead of Amherst at the 500 meter mark, the varsity eight didn’t look back.

They finally caught Wesleyan, who had been ahead for the entirety of the race, with 500 to go. With one final sprint, Williams picked up their rhythm and walked through Wesleyan, cruising over the finish line just one second ahead.

Werbel-Sanborn cited the crew’s ability to remain “relaxed and motivated” during the body of the piece as the reason for their success.

Another race that was won by determination was the women’s varsity eights event. As Amherst didn’t enter a varsity eight, this event included only two boats, Wesleyan and Williams (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 and cox Carol Lynn Higgins ’02).

Although in the past this crew has relied on its powerful starts to pull ahead, Wesleyan gained a two-seat lead. For the first 1000 meters, Wesleyan held Williams off, pushing its lead to five seats. However, the Ephs never gave in, and just before the halfway point quickened their rhythm to make a move.

When Williams began moving on its opponents, Wesleyan was defenseless. With 500 meters left to race, Williams had powered ahead and held a solid lead, crossing the line one boat length ahead.

This comeback win was a vindicating one for the Ephwomen as they had lost a similar race two weeks prior. Like the varsity men, the women focused on their fitness and mental tenacity to pull them to victory.

Although Williams managed to dominate the varsity events, the junior varsity crews faced some very challenging races. The Williams women (Stephanie Pirishis ’02, Nicole Draghi ’00, Maya Garcia ’02, Alison Booth ’00, Kristin Wikelius ’01, Kathryn Hibbert ’02, Kate Geier ’00, stroke Becca Parker-Johnson ’02 and cox Emilie Mathieu ’02) were in a two-boat race with Wesleyan.

In the first minute of the race, Williams focused on rowing well within their boat, but Wesleyan pulled ahead by a few seats.

From behind, Williams hung with Wesleyan until the last 500 meters, executing a solid swing. Wesleyan kept the leading position, however, and beat Williams by about a boat length.

Still, the Junior Varsity women were not disappointed with their rowing. Garcia commented, “Even though we lost the race, we lost it well. We did what we had been working on all week [which was rowing well together].”

The junior varsity men (Mike Paarlberg ’02, Dan Clayburgh ’01, Jason Langheier ’00, Mike Wynton ’03, Derek Ward ’02, Dennis DeBassio ’00, Mark Acton ’00, stroke Dave Noe ’01 and cox Rebecca Cover ’00) also had a difficult race against Wesleyan.

Williams trailed Wesleyan from the start and struggled to gain ground. They made numerous moves on Wesleyan, gaining a few seats back, but their efforts were not enough at the finish line. This loss marks the first for the JV men of the season.

One more noteworthy race took place in the novice men’s eights. William’s novices (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 and cox Evan Hiller ’03) undeniably illustrated their strength on the water.

Racing only Wesleyan, Williams moved ahead for the first 500 meters.

At this point, however, Williams made an offensive move that pushed it out in front, and the novices won by over three boat lengths.

Coburn, the only sophomore on the novice team, remarked, “A lot of guys were frustrated by our loss to MIT last weekend, but we really focused this week and came back strong. Our smooth rowing this weekend really helped our confidence for the rest of the season.”

He went on to add, “A lot of guys were intimidated by the much larger Wesleyan crew, but we were really able to row through them, since we had much more facial hair.”

Along with the eight-person boats that comprise the majority of its racing program, Williams also boated fours. Due to the conditions, however, the race course was shortened for the fours to only 1000 meters.

The stern four of the women’s varsity boat raced down the course, beating a Wesleyan crew and both Amherst fours. A Williams novice four (Anri Wheeler ’03, Eliza Myrie ’03, Michelle Kron ’03, stroke Debbie Chen ’03, cox Binney McCauge ’03) was also in this race and finshed fifth behind the varsity crews.

The men’s novice eight split its lineup into two fours and raced Wesleyan and Amherst. The race, though, turned out to be more a battle between the two Williams boats than an intercollegiate affair; Williams left the competition behind. In the end, Williams won both fours events.

Overall, Williams Crew had a very successful weekend at Lake Onota. Strong performances by each team made an otherwise uncomfortable day in the rain worthwhile.