Women’s crew posts first on Onota

“Defend our house.” That was the mentality with which women’s crew went into last weekend’s home race at Lake Onota. Lining up against Marist, Bates, Ithaca and the United States Coast Guard Academy, the women set the pace of the regatta, taking first in the 1V, 2V, varsity four and novice four races and second in the 3V.

First to the starting line was the 1V. After establishing a powerful rhythm down the course, the 1V finished in a time of 6:48.3, followed by Ithaca, who trailed by over six seconds to finish in second. Bates rowing to third. “Ithaca and Bates proved to be better competition than we had faced all season, and they will hopefully continue to push us in our upcoming championship races,” seven seat Dorothy MacAusland ’12 said. Following the win, the 1V was presented with the Founders’ Cup, named in honor of the women’s crew program’s founder, George Marcus.

The 2V boat posted a time of 6:54.1 in its race, which would have earned the Ephs a close second in the 1V race. The boat’s win on Saturday also bodes well for championship season, according to bow Kaitlin Konkel ’10. “We came out of Saturday’s race in a great position to enter championship racing,” Konkel said. “Our 2V placed first in a field that included two of our biggest competitors, Ithaca and Bates, and we maintained a close margin on the times posted by 1Vs who raced earlier in the morning … Saturday kept us on track to compete at the 1V level at Nationals.”

The 3V finished in second place, just over five seconds off of top finisher Ithaca in what was an extremely competitive two-boat race. “This race was the toughest and closest we’ve had this season, and while it’s hard to lose, I think we’re all really excited to race Ithaca next week at New Englands and see what we can do,” seven seat Nora Kern ’12 said when asked about the loss.

In the varsity four race, the Ephs raced three boats to finish in an impressive one-two-three sweep. Williams ‘C’ captured first at 7:36.7, while Williams ‘A’ followed hot on its stern, clocking in at 7:43.7. Williams ‘B’ held down the fort at 7:53.1 for third.

“It was exciting to spend the majority of the race neck-to-neck with another Williams four,” varsity four ‘C’ stroke Kate Shaper ’12 said. “There’s nothing like getting out to race in beautiful conditions and having some of your best competition coming from within your own team.”

Many of the women who made up these three boats double-raced in order to field a full roster of Williams eight- and four-woman boats. Williams ‘B’ varsity four two seat Kelsey Conklin ’12, who also rowed in the 2V, considered the experience positive, if trying. “Racing fours as well as eights gives us some of our best competition in addition to teaching us how to race when we’re exhausted, something we’ll experience frequently in the upcoming championship season,” she said.

‘A’ varsity four rower Adrienne Darrow ’11, who also rowed in the 2V, echoed her teammates’ positive responses to the day. “I definitely think this was our best race so far,” Darrow said. “We brought a lot of energy and power to the boat but also raced with more precision and poise.”

The novice four boat redeemed itself after a tough second place finish in the last regatta, taking first in Saturday’s race by a margin of more than 30 seconds over a second-place Marist boat. “We all came into the race determined and focused,” stroke Annie Haley ’13 said. “From the first stroke we kept this attitude and it allowed us to be successful.”

The impending championship season will test the women’s success on the year thus far starting this Saturday. Williams will travel to Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., for the New England Rowing Championships this weekend.

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