Women’s crew opened its head racing season on Oct. 23 with the first and most prestigious fall regatta, the Head of the Charles, in Boston. The Ephs entered two boats this year, a 1V eight and a four, which gave the team a chance to race against both new and old competitors. The 1V finished third in the collegiate eights division behind Wesleyan and Ithaca, while the four placed fifth.
The Head of the Charles features notoriously challenging obstacles for coxswains, including several turns and bridges to navigate. Extremely windy conditions added another obstacle, yet both Williams crews successfully steered clean races.
The four raced first in the early afternoon, seeded between Bryn Mawr and University of New England. The Ephs started fairly far back in the pack, as they do not typically race fours and placement is determined by past results. Gemma Holt ’17, Clara Beery ’18, Brittany Chung ’18, Diana Mathiessen ’19 and Julia Mini ’19 cruised by four other crews in their charge to the finish line.
The four finished in 21:18.88, good enough for fifth place behind Barry, Carleton, University of New Hampshire and FIT. Barry won the race in 20:23.64.
Later in the afternoon, the eight started first in its field on account of the team’s first-place finish at last year’s regatta. Sarah Cooperman ’17, co-captain Gabrielle Markel ’17, Rebecca Smith ’18, Mikhayla Armstrong ’19, Emily Burch ’19, Caroline Kessler ’19, Ava Palmo ’19 and Eileen Russell ’19, as well as Stephanie Brown ’20, competing in her first collegiate race, finished in 18:08.41 and placed third, just four seconds off of first-place Wesleyan and three seconds behind second-place Ithaca. Perennial rival Bates finished fourth, more than five seconds behind the Ephs, while defending NCAA champion Wellesley finished sixth, more than forty seconds back.
“Sunday on the Charles was wild and woolly,” Head Coach Kate Maloney said. “With sustained winds at 25 mph and gusts up to 40 mph, the races were definitely a test of [the women’s] skill and toughness. I thought both boats did an admirable job of managing the conditions and racing hard and I am pleased with the results. I look forward to the opportunity to race the winner, Wesleyan, again next weekend at the Head of the Fish, where hopefully we can find some more top end speed and finish the fall racing season on a strong note across the team.”
The women will close out a short fall racing calendar this weekend at the Head of the Fish in Saratoga, N.Y. All members of the team will be racing in a variety of events.