Boston, MA—Battling incredibly tough conditions similar to last year, the Eph men's crew pushed through to finish 4th, 15th and 28th. The Ephs competed in the collegiate eight event that brought 40 teams to race on the 4.8km course. Williams is the first and only team to have three varsity boats in the event because of their consistent ability to place in the top 20, earning an automatic qualifier. They were one of three, including Bates and Boston College, to have at least two boats.
The first varsity boat, with bow number 5, crossed the start line into a 20 mph gusting headwind. The second varsity followed a few minutes behind at bow number 13, then the third varsity at bow number 33. In head races, teams are assigned a number based on the previous year's performance. Teams are then sent onto the course at around fifteen second intervals creating a time trial format race.
The first varsity started behind eventually winner Drexel and in front of Bucknell. The Ephs started with a larger than normal gap which allowed them to focus on rowing their own race, not worrying about traffic ahead of them. The strong headwind was transformed into all types of crosswinds throughout the challenging and curvy course making rowing and steering difficult for crews. The times were also significantly slower because of conditions.
The first varsity finished 4th behind Drexel, Michigan, and Virginia, respectively. The top 4 finishers in the event were a tight cluster with 5th place Wesleyan over 13 seconds behind the Ephs. The Williams 1V came in at 15:28.8, the 2V at 16:12.7, and the 3V at 16:51.2.
"We did a really great job of keeping our heads in the boat and rowing our race," comments co-captain and 1V stroke Erick Quay. "The Charles is a huge event with lots of distractions, so focusing on what we can control is critical. I think we did a great job of that today."
The second varsity had another solid outing receiving an automatic qualifier with their 15th place finish. The Williams 2V started behind Trinity and Middlebury and ahead of Ithaca. The boat successfully chased down the Middlebury boat and kept ECAC foe Ithaca from passing.
The third varsity finished a solid 28th out of 40 in its first performance. Racing in the Charles was an invaluable experience for many of the freshman in this boat. The boat, however, did not place high enough for an automatic qualifying bid so the Ephs will have to re-enter the lottery for next year.
"I'm really excited for how the team performed overall," notes co-captain Nick Evert. "I think the competition was tougher this year, so being able to re-qualify two boats and place another in the top 30 really shows our depth. Our second and third boats were beating first boats from many of our competing schools."
The Williams 1V finished ahead of all the crews they typically race in the spring—most notably Wesleyan in 5th, Bucknell in 6th, Hobart in 7th, Marist in 12th, Ithaca in 13th, Bates in 14th, Middlebury in 22nd, and Trinity in 31st (9th without penalty). The top two varsity boats will head to Princeton, NJ next week to face off against Division I competition. The third varsity and all the freshmen will travel to Saratoga Springs, NY for the Head of the Fish.
The line-ups were as follows: