Men’s crew showed a promising start to the spring season last Saturday with a sweep of the Donahue Cup on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. From the top varsity boat to the Novice 8, all crews successfully pulled ahead of WPI and non-conference opponent MIT. The 1V boat won its race in 5:50.6, finishing four seconds ahead of MIT.
“We were down off the start but we didn’t panic,” co-captain Nick Evert said. “We rowed a focused and gutsy piece.”
The 2V boat cruised to an eight-second victory over second-place MIT, establishing an open-water lead early on that continued to grow throughout the race. The Novice 8 posted the biggest winning margin of the day, finishing 22 seconds ahead of the WPI boat. The second Novice 8, competing in the same race, fought WPI neck and neck for the entire 2000 meter race but came up short in the end by just 0.3 seconds.
The last race of the day was the varsity four plus, which pulled out a four-second win over MIT despite being down after the start.
“It was a great weekend of racing across the board,” said Evert. “It’s always nice to row in Worcester, a place where our program has a rich history and many fond memories.” The team will be back at Worcester in just three weeks for the New England Rowing Championships, where they hope to continue their dominance over the region’s crews.
On April 5, the men rowed in their first races of the spring season on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Penn. After two weeks of training in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the team stopped on their way back up to Williamstown to race against St. Joe’s on Saturday morning and then take on Temple in the afternoon. The two-race day provided an opportunity for Head Coach Peter Wells to shift lineups between races in order to find the most speed possible. Against St. Joe’s, the 1V boat took an early lead, but after hitting windy conditions midway through the race, had to fight hard to hold off moves from the other boat and finish ahead by 2.3 seconds. The 2V had a relatively easier time beating St. Joe’s, managing to win by several boat lengths of open water with an 18-second margin. The men of the Novice 8, racing in the first spring race of their collegiate careers, won by six seconds.
The afternoon races against Temple were more challenging, but the men adapted to their new lineups quickly. The Temple 1V had a half-boat-length lead after the first 700 meters of the race. Williams put up a fight, taking several effective moves and always maintaining contact, but ended up crossing the line three seconds behind Temple. The 2V had a similarly exciting race, rowing most of the race just half a length up on Temple, and despite a strong sprint from the other boat, kept their bowball ahead to win by just 0.3 seconds.
The Novice 8 finished with the biggest margin of victory for all boats on the day, an impressive 25 seconds. The other novice eight, which is a boat composed entirely of walk-ons, finished third in the same race.
“The guys did a really good job of showing their versatility by rowing different seats on different sides in different lineups, and by showing a lot of poise in the first two 2ks of the season,” said co-captian Erick Quay ’14.
This weekend, the men will host rivals Amherst and Wesleyan for the Little Three Championships. The races will take place at Lake Onota in Pittsfield, Mass., on Saturday.