Men’s crew’s varsity eight wins NEs for 1st time in 13 years

ew dethroned Trinity on Saturday to win the men’s varsity eight race at the New England Rowing Championships. The second and third varsity teams also earned medals to round out the Ephs’ successes for the day.
It was around 7 p.m. when the Williams first varsity boat, seeded second behind defending-champion Trinity, took to the line amongst the other teams.

As the starting gun went off, Bates was particularly quick. “They were three-quarters of a length up on us by the 750,” said co-captain and four-seat member Rob Buesing ’09. “But [Head Coach Ben Lewis] told us in the pre-race meeting that if any crew was ahead of us, they would have to pay for it. He was right.”

At the 1000 meter mark, the midpoint of the race, Trinity increased its speed in an attempt to catch the Ephs. With their strength and training, however, the Ephs prevailed. “When Trinity finally took their big move, we went with them, with both of us taking off from the rest of the field,” Buesing said. “Trinity didn’t really take any seats back during their big move. With a six-seat lead on Trinity and nearly a length on Bates going into the last 350, everyone in that boat knew there was no way we were going to lose that race.”

Williams ended years of Trinity domination with a 42 stroke-per-minute sprint that earned them first place by a 1.4 second margin. Bates followed Trinity in third place.

The Ephs’ second varsity squad also managed to exceed expectations. With a fourth-place seed, the men knew that they would have to row the race of their lives to beat a boat that finished lengths ahead of them earlier in the season. Their race plan was to come out strong at the beginning and to maintain that intensity throughout the race. “We needed to row harder than we ever had,” said Mike Sacks ’09, three-seat of the boat.

The second varsity boat made its big move at the halfway mark to trade leads with WPI. Near the end, the men held on through the last stroke of the sprint. In an extremely close and well-fought race, the squad finished in third.

The men were excited to have rowed so well. “It feels great to add to the men’s team’s incredible day by becoming the first Williams 2V to medal at New England’s since 1999,” Sacks said.

The third varsity boat also enjoyed commendable success, defending the silver medal that the boat earned at the event last year. The Ephs ended the day with 71 points in the men’s competition behind which Trinity and WPI, who earned first and second with respective scores of 106 and 73. Finishing third was an accomplishment for the Ephs, however, because the team did not compete in as many events as other schools. In the total points competition, the men’s and women’s teams combined their point totals to earn the first place trophy.

The team will look to build on its strong performance this weekend at the ECAC Champinoships this Saturday.