Men’s crew arrived early to Onota Lake on Saturday morning to find bitterly cold temperatures and patches of ice on the dock. The races were scheduled earlier than normal to avoid the worst of the day’s windy conditions. Putting the conditions behind them, the men won three out of four races to finish off their regular season and claim the Onota Cup over Coast Guard, Ithaca and Bucknell.
The earliest race featured the first varsity boats from Williams, Coast Guard and Ithaca. A slow start put the Williams varsity boat down a few seats to Ithaca. The Ephs made steady progress on the rival boat and with 500 meters left, broke contact and sprinted through the boat at the end. The men crossed the finish line with a small margin of open water to finish 4.5 seconds ahead of Ithaca and 28 seconds ahead of Coast Guard. “The boat struggled with a sluggish start and a stiff crosswind,” Erick Quay ’14 said. “Yet we stayed calm and rowed well.” This race was the closest so far this season for the 1V boat and was great preparation for the even faster crews the Ephs will see in the upcoming championship regattas.
The second varsity boat showed its speed against Ithaca and Coast Guard by cruising through the line 15 seconds ahead of Ithaca and 36 seconds ahead of Coast Guard. The 2V had an all-around quality race, getting off the line quickly and executing its race plan to the end. This boat saw measurable improvements in the last two weeks and has shown that it is ready to face off against much stiffer competition in the coming weeks.
The first novice boat faced off in a dual race with its respective boat from Coast Guard. The novices had a poor start that put them down by a few seats, but they quickly regained the lead by the 250-meter mark. By the 750-meter mark, the novices had broken contact and were fighting to expand the margin. The first novice was able to capture a 32-second victory. With one more week before their first championship races, the novices look to solidify their rowing and establish consistency in their racing. The second novice boat, now referred to as the third varsity because of its entry level at ECACs, fell short of Ithaca’s 3V by just under nine seconds.
The men returned to the rough waters in the early afternoon to scrimmage the Bucknell crew. The 1V, 2V and first novice all raced their respective opponents in a shortened race of 1500 meters. The first varsity boat hit a snag in its start and had to chase down the Bucknell boat for an eventual victory. The second varsity had the most exciting race of the afternoon, battling stroke for stroke with the Bucknell crew before out-sprinting its competitor to the line. The novice boat fixed its morning start and came off the line fast, snatching an early lead that it carried through the finish line to win by a large margin.
The Ephs are excited to enter the championship racing season. Entering with an undefeated record as a team and for the first varsity and first novice crews, the men are anxious to test their skills against the best in New England on Saturday in Worcester, Mass., at the New England Championships.