Men’s crew defends NE title

After eight months of hard work and preparation, it all came together for men’s crew last Saturday at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. A strong performance by the 3V four went hand-in-hand with silver medals for both the novice and 2V boats before the day was capped off by a tremendous effort from the 1V, who successfully defended their New England title.

After finishing almost five seconds behind Trinity and getting edged out by WPI three weeks ago, the 1V knew they faced an uphill battle if they were to win the championship. Their first hurdle came in the morning heat, where the 1V easily moved past WPI in the first 1000 meters before intentionally slowing down in order to conserve energy for the final. The 1V relaxed between races, mentally preparing themselves for what lay ahead.

The final, however, did not initially go as planned. Trinity pulled away from the very first stroke, racing two beats higher than Williams throughout the first portion of the race. The deciding moment came at the 1000-meter mark, when Trinity began to show signs of weakness. Down almost a boat length at that juncture, Williams clawed their way back into contention, but with 500 meters left to go, the Ephs were still down by half a length. Then, spurred on by the inspirational calls of coxswain Michael Abrams ’11, the men surged forward and managed to gain the lead from Trinity with less than 10 strokes to go. When they crossed the line, the crowd had no idea who had won, but there was no doubt in the rowers’ minds. Seconds later, the officials confirmed that Williams were New England Champions once again, by the tiny margin of .59 seconds.

The 2V’s race was no less impressive. Having lost to Bates by several seconds last weekend, the men powered back to claim the program’s first silver medal in the 2V event in over a decade. In fourth place after the first few hundred meters, the dedicated crew pushed through the entire field and outsprinted Bates to claim second place behind Trinity. Although they finished six seconds behind the Bantams, the gap was much smaller than the 12-second defeat they had suffered weeks earlier.

The novice race followed a similar trajectory. Despite a sloppy start, the Williams boat moved steadily through the field, eventually finishing second behind a strong Trinity crew. They remain confident, however, that they have speed to gain and will look to challenge their rivals at Trinity at next week’s ECAC regatta.

The men’s 3V four put forth a valiant effort, placing fourth in the finals of the varsity four event having faced up to the best crews New England had to offer. They too will look to gain speed before next week’s regatta.

The men will return to action at Lake Quinsigamond Saturday for the ECAC Invitational Regatta, where they will take on perennial powerhouse Michigan as well as other crews from around the country.