Men’s crew finishes third, women second at first sprint

Over spring break, men’s and women’s crew traveled down to South Carolina for some intensive training in preparation for the upcoming season. Rowing multiple practices a day, the crew sought to transition from the winter dryland exercises to the challenges of rowing on the water.

Steve Scroggins ’04 described the spring trip experience as, “a lot of work, especially because there were a lot of unanticipated problems that we had to work through. But it was a really good bonding experience for the team, and I had a lot of fun. I think everyone improved a lot as rowers.”

Due to the odd scheduling of Spring Break this year, the teams had a shortened training camp and returned on April 5 for their first race of the sprint season on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass.

In miserable mid-winter conditions with a harsh rain and slight tail wind, men’s crew took on three other crews: URI, Lowell College and Holy Cross, last year’s conference champions. University of New Hampshire (UNH) was also scheduled to attend but canceled due to snow and ice. In the varsity eight race, the Ephs finished third with a time of 6:20 behind University of Rhode Island (URI) (6:15) and Holy Cross (6:11). “We rowed very well technically, but just didn’t have the power to capitalize on our good technique,” Chris Flynn ’04 said.

The novice men’s eight fared much better, finishing first with a time of 6:34 over Holy Cross (6:36) and URI (6:57). “While we may not be the biggest crew on the water,” Treb Allen ’06 said, “we definitely worked together very well, which provides us with a lot of confidence.”

Women’s crew raced against Holy Cross and Simmons. In the varsity, the Ephwomen fell to Holy Cross, finishing in a time of 7:02, seven seconds behind the leader. “We rowed well last weekend, but we weren’t really racing; we didn’t have the necessary aggression,” Liz Remus ’04 said. “We didn’t commit to moving on the other boats when it was still within our grasp.”

The JV women’s eight had a closer race, maintaining contact with Holy Cross, but unfortunately lost by two seconds with a time of 7:22. Due to increasingly harsh weather conditions and the appearance of lightning, the officials chose to cancel the novice women’s eight and the men’s varsity four.

This past weekend, crew returned to Lake Quinsigamond to face off against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) and Connecticut College. With a light tailwind and persistent rain throughout the morning, Williams came out with more intensity then the previous week. The men’s varsity eight topped the other crews in a time of 6:10, which was two seconds faster than second place WPI and ten seconds faster than third place MIT.

“We definitely made a step up over last week and hope to continue this improvement over the next weeks,” captain Luke Hyde ’03 said. “It was nice to get a first victory and get the boat up to a good speed with good feel even in rough water. I hope this win makes us hungry for more.” The men’s varsity four also crushed WPI with a time of 6:57, a full 26 seconds over the competition.

The novice men’s eight gave a great race but could not pull off the victory over MIT; they finished in second place with a time of 6:21, three seconds behind the leader. “The lack of a great start and sprint at the end then meant we must focus on speed work now that we have technique down,” Andrew Pocius ’06 said. “Though we lost to MIT, we made great improvements and look forward to continued improvement.”

The varsity women’s eight delivered a convincing win over WPI and Conn. College, finishing eight seconds up on the field with a time of 6:53. “Although I think everyone would agree that our rowing was lacking, we were much [more] aggressive and it paid off,” Anne Lewis ’04 said. The JV women, though, continued to struggle, finishing second to Conn. College in a time of 7:14.

The most astounding victory of the day belonged to the novice women’s eight, who overcame an incredible obstacle to defeat their opponents. After maintaining a strong lead for 1500 meters of the race, five seat Kate Sauerhoff ’06 caught a crab, which is when the blade becomes stuck in the water, pinning the rower to her seat. This accident prevented Sauerhoff from rowing, leaving the women to finish the remaining 500 meters of the race one woman short. Despite the incredible impediment to the Williams women, WPI and Smith College did not have the strength to overpower the remaining seven rowers. The novices crossed the line at 7:18, three seconds over the competition.

This weekend, Williams will host the Little Three Regatta at home on Lake Onota. This race carries particular significance because the coveted Saratoga Oar will be awarded. Williams leads the Wesleyan and Amherst rivalry 27-25-9, respectively. Captain Emma Herries ’03 looked forward to the race confidently: “We’ve really stepped up our rowing and are looking forward to bringing home some red shirts” she said.