Saratoga Springs—The Ephs Men's crew traveled to the Head of the Fish for their final race of the fall. This race is primarily a focus for the freshman as it is an opportunity to display the skills accumulated throughout their first season of rowing. Following the Head of the Charles the crew decided to mix up line-ups dividing into an upperclassmen boat, a top sophomore boat, and a mixed 3V with experienced freshmen. This event was a great way to wrap up the fall season with a great display of energy and inter-squad competiveness.
The day started off with the varsity lightweight 4+ event, which is composed of rowers under 165 pounds. These rowers, which fancy calling themselves "fastweights", earned that title on the water posting the fastest 4+ time of all Williams boats across all categories. The first boat posted a quick time of 12:05.19 placing first and the second boat posted a time of 12:58.46 to place seventh. "It was nice to follow up on our win at the Housatonic with our performance today," says Peter Ellis.
The two heavyweight fours took first and second place with times of 12:12.74 and 12:23.82, respectively. This fours performance was a large improvement compared to the Head of the Housatonic. The times are slower than they would have been, however, as both boats were involved in crashes, with the first boat clashing oars 200m from the finish with the slowest boat from the previous event and the second boat came to a full stop in a tangle while passing a boat that refused to yield. "It was frustrating for both boats to be slowed down by collisions, but the great thing is that the rowing was much better than earlier in the year," comments stroke Erick Quay.
The novice eight was the next boat to compete. This boat was composed of 3 experienced freshmen and 5 walk-ons. Posting a quick time of 11:36.98, the novices placed second, bested only by St. Lawrence. "It was a great experience to race at the Fish, and all the guys are excited to train in preparation for the spring season," says walk-on Max Dugan-Knight.
The premier event of the day was the Varsity Men's eights race in which Williams entered two boats. Rather than continuing with the 1V and 2V line-ups, this race featured the much-anticipated upperclassmen versus sophomore contest about which a large amount of trash talking had been thrown around. The '15's eventually yielded to the upperclassman boat tune of 6.6 seconds with times of 11:02.74 and 11:09.34. With these times the Ephs placed and 4th and 7th, six seconds behind first place. "It was awesome to see the energy that people brought to this competition," notes co-captain John Gorman. "It is hard to revitalize after the Charles, but the opportunity to prove what was already know, that the upperclassmen are faster, helped keep people energized." Comments sophomore stroke Connor McLane, "We respectfully concede that they beat us this time, but this loss will only serve as an additional motivation during winter training."
The upperclassmen line-up (with two freshmen) was as follows: c-Ellen Finch, 8-Erick Quay, 7- Phillip Oung, 6-John Gorman, 5-Nate Barker, 4-Zach Tarlow, 3-Peter Ellis, 2-Julian Fernandez, bow-Parker Finch. The sophomore line-up was essentially a reincarnation of last year's successful top freshman boat: c-Maggie Hughes, 8-Connor McLane, 7-Alexander Nanda, 6-Peter Awad, 5-Russell Taylor, 4-Sam Chapin, 3-Marshall Akita, 2-Isaiah Clark, bow-Neeko Gardner.
Williams also entered a boat in the JV eights, which featured experienced freshmen and sophomores. This boat was competing against second varsity boats. Their time of 11:51.13 put them 6th in the event.
To cap off the day of rowing, the freshmen entered two 4+ boats in the novice event. An event the Ephs have placed first in since 2008, the boats finished in 2nd and 9th. The relative times, however, are promising. From here forward, all freshmen now consolidate into their own team for spring racing.
Coach Peter Wells was happy with the performance and commented on the energy and enthusiasm of the team. The team will spend the next week winding down the fall season on the water and readying themselves for the long indoor training season until they get back on the water over spring break in March. The Ephs start that season tomorrow with the Schnell Steigen, which is a traditional race against the men and women's Nordic skiing teams up to the top of Mt. Greylock. The course comes out to about five miles and goes up Mt. Prospect, across Mt. Williams, and finally up Mt. Greylock.