Greeted by beautiful blue skies and calm conditions on Saturday morning, men’s crew raced hard to defend the Onota Cup after claiming the title last year. The 1V came out victorious to give Williams the title for the second year running. The 3V and novice boats also placed first in their respective races, while the 2V came in a close second to Bates.
Showing further improvement from last week’s win, the 1V had a strong start. The men almost immediately found themselves half a length up on the field, which included a strong Marist boat that had turned in impressive results prior to this week. The 1V, however, continued to press away as it settled into a base rhythm. By the 1000-meter mark, the Ephs found themselves up by roughly three-quarters of a length and, aided by a big 20-stroke push right at the halfway point, widened the gap on the trailing boats and fended off Marist’s attempt at a sprint. The other three boats in the race, Ithaca, Bates and Coast Guard, finished well off the pace, all of them over eight seconds behind the winning crew.
The 1V boat was pleased with both the row and the result: Head Coach Peter Wells remarked that the men had “speed with ease” and that “at the finish line, the guys did not look as if they were under any duress or being taxed physically.” The apparent ease with which the men obliterated their competition bodes well for the season-ending championship races. Co-captain Cameron Skinner ’10, however, warned his team away from complacency. “The race went well, but now we have to maintain our focus, recommit, and find those extra seconds for next week,” he said.
The 2V participated in one of the more eventful races of the day. Like the 1V, the 2V crew got off to a fast start: Williams led by almost half a length by the halfway point. From then on, however, a strong Bates 2V pushed back and eventually claimed the first-place result. The 2V finished well ahead of the rest of the field, however. The Ephs’ frustration at coming in behind the Bobcats was mitigated by the fast time the boat posted en route to second place. Furthermore, upon closer examination of the times, the Bates 1V had actually raced slower than the Bates 2V, which led many to believe that the Williams 2V may have been racing against Bates’ best rowers.
Both the 3V and Novice boats took first on Saturday. The 3V came from behind to catch its opponents despite one of the men losing control of his oar, causing a boat-stopping crab. The Novice boat downed its competition in a hard-fought race. Williams will next be in action at the New England championships in Worcester, Mass., where the team will fight to defend last season’s title.