Women’s crew speeds to first

Women’s crew faced off against NESCAC rival Wesleyan in the Little Three Regatta last weekend at Lake Quinsigamond. Amherst continued their tradition of not competing, despite their annual invitation. Though this year was technically Wesleyan’s year to host, lack of available water moved the race to a neutral site. The Ephs seized the opportunity to tackle the course and the competition they will face in the New England Championships and ECACs. The course featured Worcester’s signature crosshead wind, but the balmy temperatures and relatively calm waters combined for some of the best conditions the women have seen all season. The Williams 1V opened the day of racing with a solid piece, coming up with a win over the Cardinals. After a week of fitness testing and seat racing, the women were excited to see what new speed could be found in a changed lineup. The Ephs stepped away from their competition at the thousand-meter mark, finishing with more than a length of open water on the Cardinals. In the second race of the day, the Williams 2V, 3V and novice boat matched up with the Wesleyan 2V and 3V. The William Smith novice boat also raced, though not traditionally part of the Little Three regatta, as a late addition. The field stayed close for the first 500 meters, with the Williams 2V and Wesleyan 3V leading the pack, followed by the Wesleyan 2V. The Williams 3V and novice boat kept pace with each other while the William Smith novices trailed the field. The boats separated just before the thousand-meter mark, with the Williams 2V maintaining its position in the lead and the Wesleyan 3V and 2V close behind.

The Williams novices picked up their pace, moving past the Williams 3V as both boats continued to step away from the William Smith novices. The 2V Ephs crossed the line first, beating the second-place Wesleyan 3V in a close race. The Cardinals’ 2V followed, while the Williams novices and 3V finished fourth and fifth. The William Smith novices brought up the rear. Highly unusual in many ways, the broader field of the second race gave all crews a better sense of the busyness of upcoming championship regattas. The late addition of William Smith granted the Williams novices a direct opponent and a chance to get competitive. Adding to the excitement of the day was a familiar face among the Cardinals. Williams alum Annie Haley ’13 now coaches for Wesleyan. This marks the Ephs’ 16th consecutive Little Three title, though the women are looking forward rather than back.   The women are very satisfied with their performance and eagerly anticipate the remainder of the season. “The race was very exciting because the 1V was in a two boat race and the 2V, 3V and 1F were all in a six boat race which won the 2V won,” said co-captain Piper Sallquist ’15. “We had a good race and we’re excited to go to New England in two weeks.” Williams will not be hosting a home regatta this year. The women will race next at the New England Championship in Worcester, Mass., on May 2.