Williamstown, MA—The Williams College men's crew team returns 30 varsity members this year for the largest team in decades, erhaps ever. With the addition of a great group of athletic and energetic walk-on freshmen, the Williams crew is looking to field three competitive varsity eights and two boats of novice freshmen.
The varsity team has three time-trial format head races this fall—the Head of the Genesee, Head of the Charles, and the Princeton Chase. Fall racing distances typically fall between 4 and 5 kilometers. Boats are sent off on 20-30 second centers and race against the clock and the elements.
The Ephs start the season this coming Saturday at the Head of the Genesee in Rochester, NY where they will face Syracuse, Hobart, Ithaca, and St. Lawrence among others. This regatta has a unique format with a 4k head race in the morning and a 1200m sprint race in the early afternoon. The sprint race is in a dual format depending on what teams finished next to each other in the morning. Cumulative times are determined by adding three times the sprint time to the morning 4k time.
The Ephs chose to replace the Head of the Housatonic with this Head of the Genesee in order to see more relevant competition. Hobart and Ithaca are both highly competitive "DIII" crews that the Ephs see at ECACs in the spring—the national championship for the men's crew.
The second race is the famed Head of the Charles in Boston, MA. The Charles is the largest regatta in the world and the focal point for the Ephs. Williams is the only club to have 3 boats entered in the Collegiate 8+ event that has a total of 44 boats competing. This is the second year in a row that the Ephs have secured three entries. The top two slots were obtained through automatic qualification from the year prior—requires a top 20 finish—and the third was obtained through a lottery. The Ephs placed 4th, 15th, and 28th last year, which was a great result, but could be improved upon. Additionally, this year is the 50th anniversary of the Charles, so the environment is sure to be prime for a good showing.
The Ephs cap the fall portion of their season off at the Princeton Chase against all of the top programs in Division I. The Ephs had a strong showing from the first boat last year with a 14th place finish ahead of many Div. I crews. This year, the Ephs are taking all three boats and hope to represent Division III rowing well on the larger stage.
The Ephs are led by head coach Peter Wells '79 who is entering his 33rd year guiding th Ephs. Wells is assisted by freshman & sssistant coach Joe Gartland, who is in his second year at Williams.
The captains for 2014-2015 are Sam Chapin and Peter Awad.
They are supported by a large group of seniors including Neeko Gardner,
Nanda, Isaiah Clark, Connor
McLane, and coxswain Maggie
Additionally, the Ephs have three seniors—Marshall Akita, Philip von Hahn, and Aidyn Osgood—returning from a full year abroad at Exeter College at Oxford University in the UK. At ten deep, the senior class provides critical leadership throughout all levels of the program.
The crew benefited from a nearly 100% retention of the freshmen class, which includes the national championship freshman boat. Combined with the few juniors not abroad and a couple mpre experienced freshmen, the Ephs plan to launch three experienced and competitive boats this fall.