Men's 1st and 3rd Varsity take Fourth; Novices take Second at ECAC Championships

Men's 1st and 3rd Varsity take Fourth; Novices take Second at ECAC Championships

WORCESTER, MA – The Williams men amassed enough points to finish third in the men’s point trophy race and, in combination with their women’s team, finished third in the overall men’s and women’s points trophy race.  The top finish of the day came from the novice men who executed a smart race to take the silver medal in the novice eight event.  The varsity men and third varsity men also rowed impressive races to take fourth in their respective grand final events.  Battling a stiff wind from all directions throughout the day, the Williams men persevered to finish the day with solid results from all boats.

The men’s third varsity eight started the morning off for the Williams men with their preliminary heat and raced to a second place finish to advance to the grand final later in the afternoon.  From heat one of the men’s 3V eight event, Trinity, with a dominant ten second win, Ithaca, and Wesleyan advanced to the grand final.  With only a top three finish in a four boat race required to advance to the top final, the Williams boat, seeded second in their heat, toed the line against top-ranked Michigan and third and fourth ranked Bates and WPI crews.  Michigan cruised to the win 6:21.29, but Williams followed solidly in second place, finishing in 6:28.53, with Bates taking the last qualifying spot in 6:32.01 for third place. 

The men’s novice eight raced in the third of three heats and with Orange Coast College, Michigan, Virginia, and Trinity having already secured bids to the grand final in the earlier two heats, the men’s 1N needed a top two finish to advance to the grand final.  Despite being ranked first in their heat, the novice crews from Hobart and UC-San Diego were fast off the line and challenged each other for the top two spots and a trip to the grand final.  In the final sprint the three crews crossed the line within a second of each other, with Hobart prevailing in 5:59.85 and Williams just nipping UC-San Diego by 0.24 seconds to advance (6:00.11 to 6:00.35).

Trinity got the ball rolling in the second varsity eight heat one with a victory over Coast Guard to claim the first two berths in the grand final.  Williams, racing in lane four of heat two, looked to pull the upset over WPI or Bates and snag a lane in the grand final, but while heavy favorite Michigan pulled away to win in (6:04.71), WPI and Bates proved to be just out of reach (6:06.94 and 6:07.9, respectively) and the Williams 2V had to settle for fourth (6:13.38) and a spot in the afternoon petite final. In the third heat Wesleyan and UC-San Diego took the last two spots in the grand final.

The men’s first varsity eight ended the morning heats with an impressive heat performance, finishing second and knocking off Virginia to take a spot in the grand final.  Orange Coast College pulled ahead early and pushed their bow ahead, with Williams, Bates, and Virginia all fighting to for a top three result and a trip to the grand final.  In the final sprint, Bates gained ground on the Williams crew, who at that point was solidly in second, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Ephs who finished a second and a half down on Orange Coast (5:56.65 to 5:58.00) with Bates third in 5:58.35.  Virginia (5:59.54) had to settle for the petite final.  From the second semifinal Trinity, Michigan, and Marist advanced to the grand final, with rival Wesleyan just missing out and taking fourth to advance to the petite final. 

The afternoon action picked up with the third varsity with Williams taking a fourth place finish in the grand final of the 3V8 event. Trinity dominated the final as they did their heat, winning by nearly ten seconds in 6:18.41 with Michigan second in 6:27.32.  Ithaca took the bronze medal with a time of 6:38.34.  Williams, overlapping with Wesleyan in the finishing sprint, edged the Cardinals for fourth, finishing in 6:43.31, with Wesleyan fifth in 6:45.73. 

The men’s novice eight, after almost missing qualifying for the grand final, stormed ahead of a tight pack of crews to take second, but nearly eight seconds back on the powerful Orange Coast College novice eight who took the gold medal.  Their time of 6:23.81 bested Hobart (6:26.81) who had handed them a loss in their heat earlier in the morning, and Virginia (6:27.53).  The novice men’s finish was the best of the day for any Williams men’s boat.

The Williams second varsity eight entered a competitive and tight petite final, coming out in third place to take ninth overall in the 2V8 event.  Ithaca was able to gain an edge on the field after a close race down the first 1,000 meters of the course, winning the petite final in 6:45.58.  Williams battled with Bates and UNH through the final 500 meters, emerging in third, with Bates second in 6:47, Williams third in 6:48.67, and UNH in fourth 6:49.33. 

The men’s varsity eight grand final was to be the final race of the day and Williams, entered in lane four lined up with Trinity, Michigan, Orange Coast, Marist, and Bates.  The top three crews—Trinity, Michigan, and Orange Coast—separated from the field and went on to secure the top three early in the race with Williams, Marist, and Bates sprinting for fourth through sixth place.  Williams gained the edge in the final 500 meters of the race, pulling out a two second victory, barely half a length, to take fourth in 6:07.16.  Marist, who Williams had defeated earlier at Lake Onota for the first time in many years, was fifth in 6:09.20 and Bates followed in 6:11.3.  The 2007 ECAC Championships were suspended because of poor weather, but in 2006 the Williams 1V placed third in the petite finals and ninth overall, making the fourth place result for the 2008 Williams 1V crew a testament to the hard work and dedication to improvement by this crew.

The ECAC Championships marks the end of the Williams men’s crew collegiate season. 

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