Women’s crew claims Little Three title

This weekend, women’s crew faced off against Wesleyan on a cold, gusty Lake Quinsigamond in the historic Little Three Regatta. The race, which would normally include Williams, Wesleyan and Amherst, was contested by only Wesleyan and Williams, as Amherst no longer sponsors a women’s crew team. The 1V, 2V, 3V and novice eight boats all gained first in their respective races.
The novice eight started off the day competing against Ithaca, Holy Cross and Conn. College and came in a solid first place, crossing the line more than 15 seconds ahead of second-place Ithaca. During the first quarter of the race, Ithaca managed to hold on to a slim lead and maintain some overlap, but Williams’ novice eight “were able to really move as a boat and pull away from Ithaca” once the race got under way, according to coxswain Anna Hopkins ’14. The novice eight gained its third consecutive first-place finish and recaptured the Captain’s Plate from Wesleyan, who forfeited the Little Three Championship race due to their lack of a novice boat.

The 3V was the next Williams crew to line up, racing against Wesleyan and Ithaca. After a strong start of the line, the 3V pulled away from the field by the 500-meter mark, extending its lead throughout the race and sprinting to the line. The crew finished 38 seconds in front of second-place Wesleyan. “We continued to come together as a boat over the week,” coxswain Liz Zhu ’11 said. “I can’t wait to find even more speed next week in tighter racing.”

In the following race, the 2V faced off against Wesleyan. The crew was originally slated to race four other teams in addition to Wesleyan, but due to limited course capacity the women raced only their Little Three rival. The 2V had a solid start and pulled away from Wesleyan by the 500-meter mark and then powered down the course to finish 26 seconds up. Despite significant seating changes the day before the race, coxswain Fiona Wilkes ’12 was impressed with how “the boat responded to our lineup change on Friday; we used today’s race as an opportunity to find a powerful rhythm that we’re looking forward to building on before racing at home next weekend.”

The 1V boat was the women’s final race on Saturday, as the Ephs took on the Cardinals once again. As in the 2V race, the women were originally set to race a larger field but ended up in a two-boat race with Wesleyan due to course restrictions. Despite some original disappointment, the crew did not let the smaller field get in its way and raced what coxswain Becca Licht ’11 called “an aggressive piece that showed how excited we are to race next week when we will have more boats next to us.” The 1V boat clocked in a commanding 40 seconds ahead of Wesleyan, allowing the Little Three Cup to remain in Williams’ possession for the 11th consecutive year.

Next Saturday, Williams looks to extend its winning streak with a race at the team’s home Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The women will face some of the most competitive teams in the country in Ithaca, Bates and the Coast Guard Academy.

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