Women’s crew takes gold on Charles

The women’s 1V boat earned gold at the Head of the Charles last weekend with an impressive time of 17:25.57. Photo Courtesy of Sports Information
The women’s 1V boat earned gold at the Head of the Charles last weekend with an impressive time of 17:25.57. Photo Courtesy of Sports Information

Women’s crew had a commanding performance at the 51st Annual Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston last weekend. Both the 1V and the 2V competed in the women’s collegiate eight event at the world’s largest two-day regatta. The collegiate eight event includes a combination of Div. II and Div. III crews, including Williams NESCAC rivals Trinity, Bates and Wellesley.

The 1V finished first with a time of 17:25.57 and the 2V finished 20th with a time of 19:01.23. This podium finish broke a four-year dry spell for the Ephs, who have not taken gold at the Head of the Charles since 2011.

The first varsity eight started with bow number 8, reflecting its finish last year. The 1V quickly overtook RIT, who started in front of it. This aggressive start paid off, as the Ephs had the fastest splits in the first three sections of the course. By the halfway mark, they were leading by five seconds over second-place Mercyhurst. By the finish line, they had passed three boats and led by seven seconds over the rest of the field.

The first varsity eight included Katie Costantini ’16, co-captain Sophia Jannetty ’16, co-captain Annie Tewksbury ’16, Gemma Holt ’17, Emory Strawn ’17, Louisa Abel ’18, Clara Beery ’18, Bertie Miller ’18 and Eileen Russell ’19.

The second varsity eight, starting with bow number 20, also had an aggressive start to the race. Its first split was six seconds faster than the University of Vermont, who started directly in front of the 2V. The 2V is a relatively young boat and it was the first time any of the nine athletes had raced at the Charles.

The second varisty eight included Bety Lopez ’16, Brittany Chung ’18, Maria Hanson ’18, Rachel Jones ’18, Emily Saulnier ’18, Mikhayla Armstrong ’19, Caroline Kessler ’19, Diana Matthiessen ’19 and Julia Mini ’19.

The Head of the Charles also saw the return of alumni spanning two decades. The alumni raced Saturday, finishing 24th and earning an automatic requalification for next year. They stayed to support the team Sunday, ensuring that every bridge was packed with fans cheering “Go Williams!”

“I am proud of the way the entire Williams crew performed at the 2015 Head of the Charles, not just the women, but the men too,” Head Coach Kate Maloney said. “It is an indication of the strength in our numbers and the support that the teams have for one another. It was cool to see the men come down and place the highest they have since 2011 and it was icing on the cake when the women revisited the podium for the first time since 2011. Both squads are bolstered by a young group of up and comers who are excited to help the team transition to a strong winter training season.”

The women will next race on Oct. 31 at the Head of the Fish in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. This regatta will be the last fall race for the team and will include the squad of novice women. Both teams are excited to demonstrate what they have learned this season and end the season with strong performances across the board.

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