Worcester, MA—The Williams men's crew team left the small section of unfrozen water on home Lake Onota for the greater expanses of Lake Quinsigamond. The Donohue Cup, hosted by WPI, has been ongoing since 2003 in honor of benefactors Jim and Babs Donohue. With their great generosity, the Donohue's have strengthened the sport of rowing throughout New England by supporting the sport at both the collegiate and high school levels and promoting a world class racing venue.
Because the lake had only recently unfrozen, there were neither stake boats at the start nor were there buoys along the course. This made it even more challenging for coxswains and less familiar for racers, but all crews were up for the challenge. Conditions were favorable with relatively flat water and a light tailwind of about 5mph.
There was a full docket of racing today as the Ephs sent out 4 eights and an additional varsity 4. The first racers off for the crew were the freshman group that sent two boats out against the WPI freshman. The first freshman boat continued their dominance this season with a strong 22-second victory over the field. The second freshman boat continued their improvement and displayed the depth of the team in a hard fought battle with WPI's first freshman boat. It was a dogfight until the end, but the Ephs were nudged by a tiny margin of 0.3 seconds.
Next to race was the second varsity boat. The boat got off to a strong start and never looked back as they slowly built the lead throughout their piece to finish with fewer than 2 lengths of open water with a margin of 8 seconds over second place MIT. The second varsity boat is now 3-0 on the season even through multiple lineup changes. "Guys are really doing a great job of giving their best regardless of what seat, side, or boat they are rowing in," comments co-captain Nick Evert.
The first varsity was next on the water. The top boat had to shift lineups last minute and hot-seated freshman Graham Buchan into the bow at the finish line of the frosh race before rowing up to the start line. The race got off to a quick start with all boats getting off the line quickly. The lack of buoys became apparent quickly as the Ephs clashed oars briefly with WPI coming out the high strokes around 300m into the race. The clash threw off the rhythm in both boats and allowed MIT to jump up half a length. The Ephs were not down for long, however, as they slowly chipped away at the MIT lead through the thousand and pulled ahead. The boat crossed the finish line with a 4.2 second margin over MIT in a time of 5:50.6.
The last boat for the Ephs was a newly minted varsity 4+ that went up against a large field of boats. The oarsmen adapted quickly to the new boat and clinched a solid win of 4 seconds over second place MIT.
As a whole, it was a great day of racing for the Ephs with all the guys rowing at least once and a couple guys twice. Williams takes on Little Three rival Wesleyan next. The rowing history between Wesleyan and Williams goes back over a century and the matchup means a lot to both teams. Come see them duel it out next Saturday at the Ephs home, Lake Onota, in Pittsfield, MA.
See results here