This weekend, men’s crew raced on flat conditions in their only home races of the season on Lake Onota in Pittsfield, MA. Ithaca College and Coast Guard came for the annual Onota Cup, but because of a wind-related cancellation last weekend, Little Threes, which in the past few years has just been a dual race between Wesleyan and Williams, also had to be rescheduled for the same day. Finally, a third race was planned for the afternoon against Bucknell.
Co-captain Nick Evert ’14 commented on the grueling schedule: “Rowing three races in one day is going to be a big challenge for any team, but I’m really proud of how we did not back down and every single boat really stepped up and embraced it.”
In the races against Ithaca and Coast Guard, both the 2nd Varsity and first-year boats posted wins. The 2V took the lead by 500 meters in and held on to finish up by just over two seconds over second place Ithaca. The first-years opened up a large margin over the field, which in their race included Trinity, and finished six seconds ahead of Trinity. The Varsity boat had a tougher race, starting out in front but slowing losing water to Ithaca, who ended up winning by about two seconds. The 3rd Varsity, a boat composed of mostly walk-ons, fought hard against a faster Ithaca crew and crossed the line 13 seconds behind.
Next up was Wesleyan, a longtime rival and a team that has shown promising speed this year, finishing right behind Williams at the Head of the Charles last fall. The Varsity came out to fight for their second race of the day, moving slowly through Wesleyan and ultimately taking the win by 4.7 seconds. The first-year boat led their race wire to wire, finishing with a huge margin of 17 seconds over Wesleyan. The 3V finished 15 seconds behind Wesleyan in the same race. The 2V had the closest race against Wesleyan. Down off of the start, Williams stayed calm and pulled even by 700 meters to go before executing a sprint that pulled them ahead by 3.8 seconds for the win. Evert commented, “It was the most exciting race I have ever been a part of. I was so proud of how we never quit even when we were down and were able to sprint through them in the last 400 meters. That really points to the tenacity of this squad.”
After a short lunch break, Williams was ready to lineup against Bucknell, a team they will see in two weeks at the ECAC Invitational. The Varsity, racing in a different lineup than in the morning, traded moves with Bucknell until the second thousand where they pulled ahead to win by a little over three seconds. The 2V, also in a new lineup, crossed the line six seconds after Bucknell in disappointing race after the success of the morning. The first-year boat, fatigued after the morning racing, fought hard but ultimately came up short by 2.7 seconds.
Co-captain Erick Quay ’14 was pleased with all aspects of the day. “We could not have asked for more ideal racing conditions for our three home races Saturday. It is a long racing day like Saturday that allows us oarsmen to push ourselves to the limit and find out more about ourselves. I think everyone did that in a very positive way on Saturday. Now we’re taking that energy and focusing it on the two championship races ahead: New England’s and ECACs.”
The men will travel to Worcester this coming weekend for the New England Rowing Championships on Lake Quinsigamond where they will see NESCAC competition such as Trinity, Bates and Wesleyan.