Last Saturday, men’s crew traveled to Onota Lake to compete against Wesleyan in the Little Three Championships. Amherst historically has not competed, so Williams only raced against Wesleyan. The Little Three race has been contested annually since 1969, a continuation of the racing tradition between Williams and Wesleyan that began in the 1870s.
In the first race, the Ephs’ 1v struggled through the starting section and fell several seats behind the Wesleyan boat. Despite this setback, they stayed tough and calm. Through the middle of the race, the Ephs sat up and connected for strong strokes. Slowly, they pulled level with the Cardinals’ boat. As they entered the final stretch, coxswain Devin Flynn ’18 called for a sprint, and the men battled Wesleyan neck and neck towards the finish line. Both boats drove across the finish line nearly even, but despite their best efforts, the Ephs fell to the Cardinals by half a second.
“The men’s 1v was neck-and-neck down the entire 2k stretch,” co-captain Andrew Rondeau ’17 said. “We reversed the margin to two seats ahead going into the final 500, and the finishing difference, 0.4 seconds, came down to whoever could get another stroke in before the line. Simply put, the first varsity guys have something to think about as we attack the final few weeks of our regular season.”
The next race of the day was the 2v. The Ephs battled the Cardinal boat valiantly through the opening section of the race but fell behind as it progressed. As the competition continued, the Cardinals demonstrated a strong base of fitness and sped up through the middle of the piece. They then used their extra speed to pull away from the Ephs and finish on top.
To conclude the day, the Ephs’ freshman boat lined up against the Wesleyan 3v. The men connected for a strong and smooth starting sequence before shifting down to their base rate for the race. The Cardinals’ experience showed, as they pulled ahead by two seats through 400 meters. The Ephs then dug in and used their fitness to battle back to even at the 1000 meter mark. From there, they executed their race plan, launching a decisive move to walk through the Cardinal crew. The Ephs pulled ahead and sprinted across the finish line with open water between them and the Cardinals boat.
“The Little Threes this year was a great opportunity for some team-wide development,” Rondeau said. “The dual races against Wesleyan provided an important opportunity to go head-to-head with a competitive and driven NESCAC crew, and we’ll have to learn from our performances in order to make up some time by New England Championships. I’m confident that we will.”
The Ephs will be back in action this weekend at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., where they will race against Holy Cross. They will line up against Wesleyan again in two weeks at the New England Rowing Championships.