Men’s crew sets pace at Div. III New Englands

Men’s crew excelled at the New England Rowing Championships on Saturday. With six states and 36 schools represented, the Williams squads dominated the competition. Strong performances by both men’s and women’s crews led the team to accumulate a total of 194 points, good enough to capture the team points trophy over second-place Trinity, which finished with 169 points. The men came away with second in the men’s points trophy with first-place finishes in the 1V and 1N and third-place finishes in the 2V and 3V. Racing consisted of preliminary heats in the morning with finals in the afternoon.

The men’s first varsity boat saw one of its most competitive fields in recent history. The Ephs powered through their morning heat to post a time of 5:55.09, three seconds ahead of the second-place Bantams. Across both heats there were six teams finishing within a five-second margin of each other, which primed the event for an unpredictable evening final. The 1V put together an impressive second race that found the crew sprinting past Trinity in the final 500 meters to capture gold in a time of 6:06.52, ahead of silver medalist Trinity in 6:08.42 and bronze medalist Bates in 6:10.26.

“We are very happy with the way the race turned out,”  Theo Patsalos-Fox ’12 said. “We had a new line-up for the race that we only had a couple days of rowing in, so we are looking forward to getting comfortable in it this week and dropping a couple more seconds.”

The second varsity crew fought a hard battle in the morning heat and came up just short of first, finishing behind UNH by a margin of 0.6 seconds with a time of 6.07.19. Nonetheless, the 2V boat progressed to the grand final to compete for gold. The crew came up short to Trinity and WPI, both boats which improved on their heat margins, to cross the line in 6:24.68 for bronze.

“We had one of our best races all season in the final,”  coxswain Andrew Marsh ’14 said of the 2V’s competition. “It was tough competition, but we are confident we can make the improvements to close the gap on Trinity and WPI.”

The first novice crew muscled its way through both races to capture gold – the first for Eph novices since 2008. The 1N started the day by dominating its heat, besting second-place WPI by 15 seconds in a time of 6:13.21. The night final began with Trinity jumping to an early half-length lead, which the Bantams maintained to the 1000-meter mark. The novices slowly chipped away at Trinity’s lead until they were able to pull even around the 500-meter mark, after which the men burned Trinity through the sprint to win by a length in a time of 6:13.66 with a 3.1-second advantage over the Bantams. “When we started to push ahead after I called the sprint, I knew we could beat Trinity to the line,” coxswain Maggie Hughes ’15 said.

The third varsity eight also posted an impressive showing despite posting a third-place finish. The 3V faced crews that had previously beaten them by 20 seconds. The Ephs were rowing a gutsy race and were just up on the field at the 1200-meter mark when an equipment malfunction  hampered the crew’s ability to finish out the race at full strength. The men did, however, manage to stay within 10 seconds of first-place finisher Trinity. This crew is anxious to get back on the water this week in hopes of capturing the 3V gold for the first time in recent Williams crew history.

On Friday, the Ephs will travel to Worchester, Mass., to face a field similar to that at New Englands in the ECAC Championship. Aside from this weekend’s field, the men will also compete against teams from New York, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania in the upcoming race. Williams looks to improve on its showing at New Englands in hopes of capturing the ECAC Men’s Points Trophy.