PITTSFIELD, MA – The Williams Men had the rare opportunity to host a home race this weekend. The Ephs and Wesleyan came together for the Little Three regatta this saturday on lake Onota. Amherst is traditionally invited but has not attended the regatta for many years. This race is the continuation of a rivalry as old as the Williams crew program. Starting in 1969 the men's first varsity boats have been competing for the Saratoga Oar, a trophy created by the modern day founder of Williams crew, John Shaw. Amherst has won the oar 4 times, Wesleyan has won 15 times, and Williams, including the win today, has won the Saratoga Oar 25 times.
The Ephs found relatively calm water on there home lake today. There was a light cross tailwind on the race course compared to the high winds that the crew has been practicing in over the last two weeks. The day was cloudy, warm, and humid making it a great day to be on the water.
The first men's race of the day was the Williams first and second freshmen boats against the Wesleyan third varsity boat. The third varsity designation is because there were some Wesleyan upperclassmen rowing with their freshmen. The Williams 1F had a strong race - moving quickly off the line and staying powerful through the race. They quickly outpaced both the Wesleyan boat and the Williams 2F. The Williams 2F worked hard to stay with the Wesleyan 3V but ultimately could not do so. These margins widened throughout the race leading to a decisive victory for the Williams 1F.
The second men's race was the Williams first varsity boat. After practicing starts this week at practice the Williams 1V was able to jump ahead of the Wesleyan 1V early in the race. The Ephs have been seat racing over the course of the last few days and were testing out some new lineups. "I don't quite think we have found the right eight guys for the 1V yet," said head coach Peter Wells. Despite that the 1V moved well and may have even broken the Onata course record.
The final race of the day was the men's second varsity. The Williams boat was also in a new lineup and showing the benefits of working on their start. The Ephs took half a boat length on the Wesleyan 2V with their starting 20 strokes. The Williams 2V gradually widened this margin over the course of the race, finishing ahead of the Wesleyan boat.
The Little Three was a success for the Ephs and fun day of embracing the rivalry between Williams and Wesleyan. The Ephs have a hard week of seat racing to finish this week as they begin to look towards the championship races at the end of the season.