BOSTON, MA - Williams College Men's Crew trounced 38 Varsity Boats to seize a first place finish in the nation's largest regatta. Edging out archrival Trinity by just one second, the crew won its first Collegiate Eight Charles title in history.
"We just destroyed the Death Star," commented sophomore Jack Wadden of the winning 1V8. Trinity had claimed the first place for the last two years. Williams' best prior showing was 11th. Williams pegged the top time of event at 15:11, despite the poor conditions.
The winding 5 km course was dominated by a stiff and variable wind as the Ephs prepared to boat. Whitecaps rolled incessantly at the start of the race as the crews were launched with ten seconds in between. First-Seeded Trinity began the racing salvo. Williams launched 11th. Williams soon retaliated by quickly overtaking the 10th seed Texas boat in the powerhouse stretch at a powerful 34 strokes per minute.
The crew wanted more. Bates was also overtaken by the experienced steering of coxswain Mike Abrams '11. His artful turn around Weeks Bridge gave the crew clean water to go to work. The team powered paste Harvard's brick facades with a relentless stroke ratio.
Each member performed at their "redline" through the ending sprint. Thirty strokes from the finish, the crew made a strong final push. The soreness of the race was slow to abate and the crew paddled down to recover. Docking immediately after rival Trinity, the crew waited anxiously for the official results.
Unofficial reports by loyal alumni indicated a narrow victory, but the crew was still unsure. The tension was released by de-rigging the boats
Then came the news. The crew erupted in celebration just outside the parents' tent. Mike Abrams' remarked after the excitement had died down, "we executed our race plan as best as we could, if any one thing had gone wrongly, we wouldn't have won the race."
Williams' Second Varsity boat also performed admirably. Seeded in the 24th position, they climbed eight spots to finish 16th despite a 10-second time penalty for striking a buoy.
The Williams Men finally joined the women in a tandem victory at the Head of the Charles. This new-found parity was the result of effective intense training and a well-executed taper. The work was greatly reduced as the race neared. Interim Coach Ben Lewis, formerly of Great Britain's Leander Club, remarked: "We may have lit a fire under Trinity. They will train hard, but we must work harder."
The Ephs look forward to the Head of the Fish Regatta next weekend, their last race of the fall season.
Full Collegiate Eights race results can be found here.
1st Varsity Eight
Mike Abrams '11 - Coxswain
Alex Treco '12 - Stroke
Andy Ward '09- 7-Seat *
Robert Buesing '09 - 6 Seat *
Jack Wadden '11 - 5-Seat
Ken Sluis '11 - 4-Seat
Dan Kenefick '11 - 3-Seat
Joey Kiernan ‘11- 2-Seat
Dan Costanza ‘11 - Bow
2nd Varsity Eight
Dan Winston '09 - Coxswain
Cameron Skinner '10 - Stroke
Crosby Fish '10 - 7-Seat
Shawn Curley '11 - 6-Seat
Michael Sacks '09 - 5-Seat *
Patrick Chaney '10 - 4-Seat
Faust Petkovitch ‘12 – 3- Seat
Chris Ting '10 - 2-Seat
Nathaniel Lim '11 - Bow
* - Indicates Captain