Pittsfield, MA—The Ephs got the unique opportunity to host a large regatta this Saturday and Mother Nature graced the lake with very favorable weather. Due to poor water conditions elsewhere and a cancellation of last weekend's Little Three race, the Ephs hosted Ithaca and Coast Guard for the Onota Cup, Wesleyan for Little Three's, and Bucknell for a dual race. Additionally, Trinity came up to race Wesleyan because of bad water at both crews' home courses.
Overall, all Williams boats ended the day 2-1 with wins and losses coming to different opponents.
The racing kicked off early around 9 a.m. with the third varsity boat taking on an Ithaca crew. The third varsity boat was made up of a couple varsity rowers not in the top two boats and the top freshman that did not make the first freshman boat. Though racing a more experienced boat, the Ephs did not give up and fought hard all the way through the line for a final margin of 13s.
Next boat off was the first varsity crew at 9:40 against Ithaca and Coast Guard. The Ephs had a powerful start and pushed out to a half-length lead, but a strong Ithaca crew slowly chipped away at the lead throughout and reversed the margin by the finish line to finish 2.2s ahead of the Ephs.
The second varsity boat followed at 10:30 going up against Ithaca and Coast Guard. The Ephs jumped out to a length lead by the 500m mark and held on to the margin down the rest of the course. The final margin over Ithaca was 2.7s.
The next race was a special opportunity to race Trinity in the regular season as the first freshmen took on Ithaca and Trinity. The Ephs had a powerful piece to finish 6 seconds ahead of Trinity and 12.5 seconds ahead of Ithaca.
The Ephs made a quick turnaround to embark on the second set of races for the day against Wesleyan in a rescheduled Little Three competition. Though Amherst dropped out of the competition long ago, Williams and Wesleyan have continued the long and storied race that dates back over a century. Racing each other is always exciting and this year was no exception. The Ephs had a strong showing with a sweep of Wesleyan on their home course.
The first boat out was the first varsity that left the start line at 12:10 pm. Off the start the Ephs did not take much ground like in the first race of the day, but they slowly pushed Wesleyan further back throughout the body of the piece. The Ephs finished through the line 4.7 seconds ahead of Wesleyan to win the Saratoga Oar.
Twenty minutes later, the second varsity boat started their race. The boat found themselves down off the start but stayed composed and chipped away at the Wesleyan lead throughout. The boats pulled even entering the last 700m of the race after which the Ephs but on the burners and pushed through the line 3.8 seconds ahead of the Cardinals.
The last race of Little Threes went off at 12:50 with both the freshmen boats taking on the Wesleyan third varsity boat. The top boat shot out to an early lead and controlled the race from there. The second boat trailed in third but fought all the way down the 2000m course. The Williams top freshmen crossed the line 17 seconds ahead of Wesleyan with the second freshmen another 15 seconds back.
The Ephs made another quick turnaround for their third and final race of the day against Bucknell, another strong ECAC crew.
The first varsity started things off at 2:30 with a strong race. Both boats got off to quick starts and were dead even through the first 500 meters. Moves were traded in the second 500 before the Ephs cracked open a small lead. For the rest of the race the Ephs pushed away slowly to cross the line 4.6 seconds ahead of Bucknell.
In a different line up from the morning, the Ephs second boat took the water against their Bucknell equivalent. The boat struggled to gain much ground off the start and ended up slightly down early. Throughout the piece Bucknell was able to push away the Ephs for a final margin of 6.1 seconds.
The freshmen had a large task ahead of them against an accomplished frosh crew from Bucknell. The Ephs got out strong and held with the Bison crew, but eventually fell off the pace to cross the line 2.9 seconds behind. This was the first loss for the freshman so far this year. The Ephs will see Bucknell again at ECAC's in two weeks time.
A long day of racing behind them, the Ephs are looking forward to their first championship race this weekend at New England's in Worcester, MA on Saturday. The Ephs took 1st place in the second boat last year and 2nd in the first boat behind Trinity.
Onota Cup results here
Little Three results here
Bucknell Dual results here