Men’s crew defends New England title

Men’s crew defended its title as New England Rowing Champion in Worcester, Mass., on Saturday. Both the 1V and 2V boats claimed first place for the third consecutive year, while the novice eight finished in third place behind first-place Boston College and second-place Trinity.

The first varsity eight finished its morning heat easily, pulling ahead from the start and setting the stage for the day’s victories. The afternoon’s final race found the Ephs down at first, but they quickly regained control, pulling ahead of the second-place Bantams by about half a boat’s length by the 600-meter mark. The gap only increased during the remainder of the race, and the men crossed the finish line at 5:50.32, six seconds ahead of Trinity, who finished at 5:56.44, and more than 11 seconds ahead of third-place Bates, who pulled in with a time of 6:01.66. The 1V received the Callow Trophy for the third straight year.

The 2V were second on the water on Saturday, winning their first race easily. This early win allowed the 2V to pull into the afternoon race as the top-ranked boat in its heat. The afternoon race started slowly for the Ephs, who were behind by the first strokes. The men soon settled into a strong rhythm and pulled ahead before the 500-meter mark, gaining open water on Trinity by the halfway mark. The men finished in first place with a time of 6:00.82, ahead of second-place Trinity, who finished in 6:08.81, and third-place Bates, who completed the course in 6:09.79.

“Last time we won both the 1V and 2V races was in 1996… [it was] so nice to get back to this depth again,” Head Coach Peter Wells said. He remained focused on the men’s potential for improvement, however, saying, “I believe we actually could do better and go faster with the boats,” commenting that he hoped the team could “push our bodies and our supposed limits a bit more.”

The novice eight also performed well over the weekend, pulling in just behind the Trinity novice boat and dominating the other boats on their way to second place in their heat. In their final race, the men garnered third place with a time of 6:02.50, barely behind the first-place boat from Boston College, which clocked in at 5:58.50. The Bantams pulled in just ahead of the Ephs with a time of 6:00.73. All three of the top finishers were in contact for the duration of the race.

“I thought the boats performed very well from the [morning] heats to the afternoon finals,” Wells said, “going much faster and simply rowing better.”

The men will return to Lake Quinsigamond on Sunday to race in the ECAC National Invitational Regatta. The men will face many of the teams they competed against in this week’s competition in addition to some of the nation’s top crews.