WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - The Williams men's crew team has returned to the waters of Onota Lake for another fall of training and racing. The team is coming off a strong spring season in which the varsity boat placed fourth at the annual NIRC Regatta before traveling to England for the world famous Henley Royal Regatta. At Henley, the Ephs varsity boat prevailed in a tough field to qualify before being knocked out in the first round in a well fought race against the University of London. The Ephs returning rowers will seek to maintain and improve upon the strong standard of work and professionalism set by last year's class of graduating seniors who led the Henley campaign.
This year, the Ephs will be under the guidance of new head coach Marc Mandel. This change comes after Peter Wells '79 stepped into a new role as boat house manager, after serving as head coach of the Ephs since 1982. Mandel joins the Ephs after a very successful head coaching career, most recently at Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C. The Ephs have transitioned smoothly to the system of their new coach, and have high hopes of where he can bring them this season and further into the future. Mandel will be joined by second year novice coach Nate Clark. Last year Coach Clark was responsible for coaching the New England Champion novice crew consisting mostly of walk ons. Once again coach Clark will be responsible for molding the Ephs novices into strong oarsmen.
After his first month with the team, coach Mandel has "come to really appreciate the spirit, work-ethic and leadership of our relatively young team." Coach Mandel's aim through the fall has been to lay a solid foundation to build towards the championship season in May. "We set a priority in the fall of focusing on some core technical points -- our hope is to lay a solid technical foundation going into the winter that will serve us well in the May championships. The team's receptiveness to this process has been very positive, and the progress made from both a rowing and fitness standpoint is clearly evident." Even more so than in previous seasons teaching and technical focus have been key points of emphasis throughout the fall season.
The Ephs are led by a small but dedicated group of seniors featuring co captains Sam Ellison and Karl Bocker, as well as coxswain Devin Flynn. The seniors will be joined in leading the team by juniors Drew West, Adam Zoen, Sam Armstrong, and Atzin Villarreal Sosa. Most of last year's New England Novice Eight gold medal winning crew will be returning as sophomores and will be looking to make successful jumps to competing at the varsity level. Rounding out the Eph varsity roster will be a large and talented group of experienced freshmen looking to come in and make an impact right away.
Joining the varsity members will be another large contingent of walk ons under the guidance of coach Nate Clark. Coach Mandel has high hopes for the future of this class of walk ons: "I am also excited about our group of novice freshmen led by assistant coach Nate Clark. They are an athletic, energetic and coachable group who will be long-term contributors to our program."
The Ephs will compete in several head races at the end of October as part of their fall racing season. First up the Ephs will send their Varsity 8+ to the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston on October 22nd to compete in the Collegiate 8+ event. The following Saturday the remaining varsity boats and new novice boats will compete at the Head of the Fish in Saratoga New York. That Sunday the Varsity 8+ will be back in action in Princeton New Jersey to compete in the Princeton Chase.
Coach Mandel looks at the fall head races as a good early barometer for the Ephs to measure themselves against their competition: "The upcoming head races will provide a welcome early test against quality rowing programs from the Division 1 to Division 3 levels."