Men's Crew Closes the season with the Head of the Charles and Head of the Fish

Men's Crew Closes the season with the Head of the Charles and Head of the Fish

Williams Men’s Crew has five months to improve upon their recent performances at the Head of the Charles and the Head of the Fish according to Coach Peter Wells.  “The preparation relative to the results for the Head of the Charles was disappointing and not in sync.” The men came in 11th out of 40-50 crews but were relatively disappointed in respect to their results against the local crews of Trinity, Wesleyan and Hobart.

“Although the men are usually ten to twenty seconds behind the Trinity and Wesleyan crews the Head of the Charles yielded a forty second difference” said Coach Wells.  Even Hobart, who we competed very well against in the Head of the Genesee was twenty seconds ahead of us.”

The morning of the Head of the Fish in Saratoga New York revealed cool, sunny skies and a great day for racing. However, the men were awarded very little time for preparation and recovery from the Head of the Charles which left little time for critique and improvements from the previous race. As Coach Wells said, “It was an opportunity for us to make sure the results from the Head of the Charles were real and the results really grabbed our attention.”

The men’s V1 came in fourth and the V2 came in 6th and the depths of the freshmen talent were evident in the race. However, Coach Wells insisted that without the good leadership of the upperclassmen in training, enthusiasm and attitude the crews would be as successful as they have been.

The men’s varsity crew finished up their fall regatta season with solid performances across the board on Sunday, October 28, 2004. Traveling west to Saratoga Springs, New York, the site of many national rowing championships in the 19th century, the varsity men took to the water against rivals Wesleyan, Colgate, and Hobart, amongst other programs. Racing in fours and eights, the men’s 1V and 2V brought home a series of energetic performances in adverse conditions and a handful of medals.

Fours racing started off the varsity men’s day, with the all-senior crew led by stroke Will Parker finishing in third place, behind two fours entered by ECAC rising star Colgate. Parker’s crew was rounded out by former biathlete Ben Byrne, and co-captains Riley Maddox, Peter Clements, and coxswain McLane Daniel. Daniel, recruited to Williams from St. Andrews as a coxswain, made the switch to rowing his junior year. Despite his dedication weight room and on the erg in transforming his body from that of a coxswain to that of a collegiate oarsman, Daniel was nonetheless drafted back to the coxswain seat out for his years of experience. Not far back were fours stroked by sophomore Andy Lee and senior Ryan Dunfee, finishing in fifth and seventh, respectively. Both crews, consisting of the remainder of the first eight and a composite of rowers from the second eight, were “an indicator of good things,” said Coach Peter Wels. “Despite issues going into the race, all three boats proved competitive, and their results were certainly encouraging.”

The eights led off with the 1V rowing the Henley ’81, coxed by first-year recruit Mike Abrams from Lower Merion HS in Pennsylvania, and stroked by Andy Lee. Lee, a former lightweight who had heretofore been stroking the 2V, was brought up into the 1V to help translate the 1V’s size and power into length and efficiency. The 1V was stymied by the conditions, however, and gusting crosswinds and a consistent headwind hampered their efforts to use their new line-up to close the gap to Wesleyan and Hobart in front of them. Rounding out the 1V were the four oarsmen from the first four, as well as senior Trevor Newman and sophomores Cameron Skinner and Patrick Chaney. Exhausted from earlier fours racing and battling the elements, the first eight nonetheless turned in a fourth place finish, well ahead of many crews it will face off against in the spring.

The men’s second eight found itself in a similar position, fighting conditions in order to gain time on crews starting ahead. Bolstered by the returns of senior Will Eusden and sophomore Will Bobseine to the team, the 2V battled up and down the course against first eights fielded by other New England schools.

“We definitely saw the field of eights gravitate to a higher level,” Coach Wells said. “We’re watching a lot of programs climbing to the top of the ladder, and it is forcing us to ask ourselves what we are doing well, and what we can do better.” But regarding the varsity men’s ambitions for the coming winter and spring, Coach Wells was unambiguous in his words: “a day of reckoning is coming.”

In terms of improvement for the future, Wells said that, “How well we come together to become a better crew in terms of rowing, team dynamics, and overall strength is what will make the difference in the spring season. Now we have five months of training to look forward to which will even out the playing field for the teams. We are the same distance away from the weight rooms, the tanks, and the road as Trinity or Wesleyan.”

Although the results for the two regattas were not what the Ephs had hoped for, the upcoming winter months and spring training in Myrtle Beach will reinvigorate the men for a great spring season.