Women’s crew snatches Donahue Cup

On Saturday, women’s crew raced WPI, Conn. College and Simmons on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. The Ephs raced with great success; the first varsity, second varsity and novice eights, as well as the first varsity four and novice four won their events. The second varsity four took second.

The first varsity eight won with a time of 6:38.8, 26 seconds ahead of Simmons, WPI and Conn. College, who finished in 7:04.58, 7:19.42 and 7:33.38, respectively. The second varsity eight’s time of 6:56.1 put its boat well ahead of Simmons, who finished in 7:21.57. WPI caught a boat-stopping crab in the first 500 meters and finished in 8:09.25.

The novice eight won in a time of 6:55.9, 22 seconds ahead of second-finisher Simmons, who finished in 7:18.17. WPI and Conn. College finished with respective times of 7:24.87 and 7:39.37. The novice four, composed of rowers from the novice eight, beat Conn. College and Simmons by four seconds.

“Each boat took a nice step forward this weekend,” Head Coach Justin Moore said. “Despite challenging conditions on the lake during the week, I feel that we made some progress in diagnosing what needed to change and taking effective steps toward change.” Indeed, this week saw the team face weather conditions characteristic of the Berkshires, including rain, snow and howling winds.

The Ephs definitely stepped up their effort this weekend, as the third varsity eight raced as both the first varsity and second varsity fours. The first varsity four won by nine seconds, ahead of both WPI and Conn. College. The second varsity four took second, coming in roughly five seconds behind Conn. College’s A team and ahead of Conn. College’s B team.

Saturday’s racing showcased the depth of the team and the need for the women to build speed by racing one another. “I am hopeful that the inter-squad competition, fostered by our depth, will help all the women get faster. It is exciting to know that we have some of the best racing each week on Wednesday, when the entire squad (men and women combined) comes out to race,” Moore said.

On April 4, women’s crew raced Holy Cross and UNH in Worcester after returning from a two-week training trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. All of the eights swept, while the two varsity fours took second and third.

The first varsity eight’s time of 7:09 earned them a close, three-second win. “We executed the aggressiveness of our race plan in the first 500 meters,” co-captain Samantha Smith ’09 said. “It was a competitive race, and both Holy Cross and UNH attacked us down the course. We kept our composure given the headwind and challenging racing in the second half of the race.”

The second varsity eight won in a time of 7:20, which put them an impressive 17 seconds ahead of Holy Cross and UNH. “We used our strengths within the race, but we also experimented with being aggressive in the first 500 meters and taking moves,” coxswain Monsie Muñoz ’09 said.

“The team performed really well and proved to ourselves and our competitors that we spent the last two weeks working really hard, but it’s still the beginning and there’s a lot of room to grow as a team and as individual boats,” co-captain Katherine Robinson ’09 said.

This Saturday, the women will race at home against Wesleyan on Lake Onota in Pittsfield.