Men’s crew wrapped up its season last weekend at the ECAC National Invitational Regatta. The Ephs travelled to Lake Quinsigamond for the fourth and final time. High temperatures, clear skies and a stiff headwind created tough racing conditions for crews on the water and for recovery between pieces. The Ephs travelled with a trimmed crew of only three boats. The 1V boat was matched in a tough morning final, seeded seventh after last weekend’s fifth-place finish at New England’s. With only two crews advancing after the final, the race boiled down to three competitors: Hobart, Trinity and Williams. The Ephs charged out to a strong start, getting up five seats on the Bantams by the 1000-meter mark and hanging only three seats down to the Statesmen. Williams continued to fight off a strong sprint from Trinity through the line, while Hobart pushed ahead to control the race from the lead. Hobart crossed the line in 6:13.4, with Williams finishing in 6:17.6, and Trinity recording a time of 6:19.1. The men won a spot in the afternoon Grand Final alongside Bates, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Hobart, Boston College and Wesleyan – a similar field to New England’s with the addition of faster crews Hobart and Michigan. With the wind, the final turned into a test of power and technique. Hobart and Michigan jumped to quick starts on the field, leaving the others to battle for third place. The men got up four seats on BC by 1000 meters and another four seats on Wesleyan, while hanging four seats down on Bates. The boats traded the moves throughout the piece, but did not change positions. Michigan took the win in 6:15.2, with Hobart following in 6:18.4. Bates took third in 6:28.4, followed by Williams in fourth in a time of 6:32.8. Boston College finished in 6:34.7 and Wesleyan crossed the line in 6:35.7. The Ephs flipped the margin on all of the New England crews except for Bates.
The 2V, rowing a completely new lineup due to significant injuries, was seeded fourth after their first-place finish at New England’s. The Ephs raced a gutsy heat to nab second place from Ithaca, allowing them to advance to the Grand Final. They crossed the line just over a second ahead of the Bombers. The final consisted of Hobart, Michigan, Bucknell, Wesleyan and WPI. Hobart shot out of the gun to a quick start with Michigan trailing. The Ephs fell behind by the 500-meter mark and eventually crossed the finished line in sixth place. The first freshman boat was out for revenge this weekend after a narrow loss to Trinity the week before. In their heat they faced off against Michigan and flexed on them by 2.3 seconds, setting up an interesting final again. Williams, Ithaca, Trinity, Bucknell, Michigan and UNH all advanced to the Grand Final. All the boats got off to a strong start but the field quickly separated with the Ephs pushing out in front. The men controlled pace of the race from the front pushing hard to break open water on the field just before the finish line. Williams crossed the line 3.8 seconds ahead of Ithaca and 4.1 seconds ahead of Trinity. Bucknell, Michigan and UNH rounded out the final in that order. “This years challenges were many: the long winter, the lack of water in the spring, the travel we had to take on the first two weeks back going to New York each day to row, the return to our lake location, water and the weather that did not permit actual rowing and progression,” Head Coach Peter Wells said. “This all said: I was so proud of how those who saw it through to the final race at ECAC’s continue to persevere and endure to get their boats on the water, to make adjustments and race. We came together more in the final week than we had almost in the entire year from the fall and I credit the guys in each of the three boats who competed as ECACs and those who were unable to make the same trip due to injury or not meeting the time standard to take the trip.” The Ephs wrapped up a turbulent season with some heart-filled racing. The combined effort from the men and women’s teams resulted in another first-place combined team points trophy, despite the men being down a boat. This is the third consecutive year that Williams has taken home this particular trophy.
The Ephs will graduate nine rowers and one coxswain in this large senior class. Lots of underclassmen gained valuable varsity experience this year, both in training and the adversity that comes with crew, upon which they can start building the foundation for next fall. “After last week, we felt like we rowed too mechanically,” said co-captain Peter Awad ’15. “We really wanted to focus this week on racing aggressively, if not recklessly. We knew that competition would be really stiff so we needed to go out harder off the line and be less conservative. I think we found some new speed by rowing together and for each other.” “I hope the lesson learned this year is that each person has to etend themselves to one other in ways that perhaps today is more difficult to make in order to really gt to now one another ‘sans’ technology with time spent shared can be the only true way of being a team,” said Wells. “I was happy to see boats find one another in the waning moments of the season,” Wells said. With the culmination of their season, the Ephs say goodbye to a large senior class, including Awad, Phil von Hahn ’15, Aidyn Osgood ’15, Connor McLane ’15, Alexander Nanda ’15, Neeko Gardner ’15, Isaiah Clark ’15, Marshall Akita ’15, co-captain Sam Chapin ’15 and coxswain Maggie Hughes ’15.