Men’s crew claimed a historic victory last Saturday, with the first varsity claiming its first ever regular season win over ECAC rival Marist College. The novice and third varsity eights also claimed victory over conference rivals, leaving them confident for this week’s New England Championships.
With five visiting teams – Bates, Ithaca, Tufts, Marist and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy – the three Williams varsity boats all faced early morning heats in order to advance to afternoon finals.
Seeded as the top crew, the first eight controlled the pace of its heat with Coast Guard and Bates fighting it out for the second spot. The other heat saw respective second and third seeds Marist and Ithaca duke it out down the course, with Marist ultimately crossing first and earning a favorable middle lane in the finals.
The second varsity faced a powerful Coast Guard crew, comprised of a sophomore class that took second place at New Englands last year in the novice eight. Williams fought Ithaca down the race course, but the men were ultimately overtaken by a powerful Ithaca sprint.
The third varsity was able to lead both Ithaca and Bates down the race course, finishing four seconds ahead. “We knew we had a strong body going in,” six-seat McLane Daniel ’08 said. “So after we executed a strong first 500 meters, we knew we were in position to win.”
The novice eight, in its lone race of the day, was able to jump to an early lead over powerful Marist and Coast Guard crews. Building on their victory over Wesleyan the week before, the novice men put their bow pair of Dan Constanza ’11 and Nathaniel Lim ’11 over the finish line first, more than ten seconds ahead of the field of Marist, Coast Guard and Ithaca.
In its final, the first varsity jumped out in the first minute. Leading Marist, Ithaca and Coast Guard into the last 500, the Williams men faced a surging Marist sprint. The last minute of the race turned into a fierce battle between Marist and Williams, both increasing their stroke ratings and digging deep for extra speed.
“We knew it was a fast sprint because we held them to about a deck-length,” stroke Riley Maddox ’08 said, “and then we realized we had dropped Ithaca and Coast Guard.” The first eight finished half a second ahead of Marist, six seconds up on Ithaca, and 14 seconds up on Coast Guard. This was the first time the Williams’ varsity eight has ever beaten Marist in the regular season.
The Ephs will compete at New Englands’ this weekend as the team continues to prepare for the ECAC championships in two weeks.