Worcester, MA—The Ephs traveled to Lake Quinsigamond again for their final regular season race against Holy Cross, Hobart, and Bucknell. This race is a new addition to the Ephs traditional schedule replacing the former Onota Cup. It is also part of the attempt to increase the strength of schedule by racing IRA crews (Division I in rowing).
The conditions were a welcome respite from the Nordic conditions this week that made rowing dangerous at times. Warming to the low 50s by racing time, crews were also faced with a solid crosswind off the start and mild chop through the middle of the course.
The first Williams boat to race was the third varsity that raced as a 4V today against Hobart's 4V and Holy Cross's 4V and 5V. The Ephs held their own in the race finishing third ahead of Holy Cross's 5V, but nearly 30 seconds behind the two other 4V's. Each week this boat has improved a lot. With two weeks left, the Ephs are looking to make significant gains in this mixed varsity/freshman boat.
Next to race was the first freshman boat that was racing as the Ephs third varsity boat. The Ephs fell behind the field in this race coming in 4th behind Holy Cross, Bucknell, and Hobart, in that order. The boat finished in a time of 6:28.7, nearly 13 seconds behind Hobart.
The second varsity boats were the next to race in what turned into a hotly contested race for second place. Due to the intense wind in the starting area the Ephs were blown out of position when the starter called the race, causing the Ephs to hit some buoys out of the gates and cost them some early seats. The Ephs fought back, however, and where hanging onto the pack through the thousand. Hobart began to drop the field and the Ephs dueled with Holy Cross and Bucknell for second. The Ephs crossed the finish line in a time of 6:12.7, only 1.6 seconds back from Bucknell in 3rd place, and 4.1 seconds back from Holy Cross in 2nd place. Hobart crossed the line first in 6:00.3.
The first varsity boats were the last to race. The Ephs got off to a blazing start nudging their bow ahead at the 200m mark, but Holy Cross and Hobart slowly began to move back. By the 700m mark, Holy Cross was out ahead of Hobart by a few seats, who was in turn stern to bow on the Ephs. The Ephs carried a 4-5 seat advantage on Bucknell at this point. The race continued to separate as Holy Cross and Hobart dueled all the way through the finish line, while the Ephs tried to create space off of Bucknell. The final order was Holy Cross in 5:55.3, Hobart in 5:56.2, Williams in 6:08.3, and Bucknell in 6:15.7.
"While its never fun to lose, we knew we were heading up against some serious competition this weekend," notes co-captain Sam Chapin. "We had hoped for a smaller margin of the lead but we will see Hobart again in two weeks at ECACs, so we'll look to improve by then. This week we've got to hunker down and get ready for New England's this weekend."
The Ephs will travel to Lake Quinsigamond again for the New England Rowing Championships, which will bring upwards of 20 crews to race for the title. The Ephs finished first last year in the first and second varsity boats.