Worcester, MA—The Ephs travelled to Lake Quinsigamond for the fourth and final time this season to compete in the ECAC National Invitational Regatta. High temperatures, clear skies and a stiff headwind created tough racing conditions for crews on the water and for recovery between pieces. The Ephs travelled with a trimmed crew of only three boats this weekend.
The first varsity boat was matched in a tough morning final seeded 7th after last week's 5th place finish at New England's. With only two crews advancing it was essentially a race between Hobart, Williams, and Trinity, which other crews further back. The Ephs charged out to a strong start getting up 5 seats on Trinity by the 1000m-mark and hanging only 3 seats down to Hobart. Williams continued to fight off a strong sprint from the Bantams through the line, while Hobart pushed ahead to control the race from the lead. Hobart crossed the line in 6:13.4, Williams in 6:17.6, and Trinity in 6:19.1.
The Ephs won a spot in the afternoon Grand Final alongside Bates, Michigan, Hobart, Boston College, and Wesleyan—a similar field to New England's with the addition of faster Hobart and Michigan. With the significantly kicked up wind, the final turned into a test of power and technique. Hobart and Michigan jumped to quick starts on the field, leaving the others to battle for 3rd place. The Ephs got up 4 seats on BC by the 1000m and another 4 seats on Wesleyan, while hanging 4 seats down on Bates. The boats traded the moves throughout the piece, but without changing positions. Michigan took the win in 6:15.2, with Hobart following in 6:18.4. Bates took third in 6:28.4, followed by Williams in 6:32.8, Boston College in 6:34.7, and Wesleyan in 6:35.7.
"After last week's outing, the numbers would say we shouldn't have even made it to the grand final this week," notes co-captain Peter Awad, "but we knew we were much faster than that. We tried to focus on racing with more heart and thinking in a less mechanical way about the race. Racing for each other really helped guys go deeper into the pain cave when we needed the speed." The result was the Ephs flipped the margin on all of the New England crews except for Bates.
The second varsity, rowing a completely new lineup due to significant injuries, was seeded 4th after their 1st place finish at New England's. The Ephs raced a gutsy heat to nab second place from Ithaca to advance to the Grand Final. They crossed the line just over a second ahead of the Bombers. The final consisted of Hobart, Michigan, Bucknell, Wesleyan, and WPI. Hobart shot out of the gun to a quick start with Michigan trailing. The Ephs fell behind by the 500m mark and eventually crossed the finished line in 6th place.
"We fought really hard in the morning heats," comments co-captain Sam Chapin, "but we struggled with the wind off the line in the afternoon final and were never able to settle into a rhythm."
The first frosh boat was out for blood this weekend after a narrow loss to Trinity the week before. In their heat they faced off against Michigan and flexed on them by 2.3 seconds, setting up an interesting final again. Williams, Ithaca, Trinity, Bucknell, Michigan, and UNH all advanced to the Grand Final. All the boats got off to a strong start but the field quickly separated with the Ephs pushing out in front. The frosh controlled pace of the race from the front pushing hard to break open water on the field just before the finish line. The Ephs crossed the line 3.8 seconds ahead of Ithaca and 4.1 seconds ahead of Trinity. Bucknell, Michigan, and UNH rounded out the final in that order.
The Ephs wrapped up a turbulent season with some heart-filled racing. The combined effort from the men and women's teams resulted in another first place combined team points trophy. The Ephs graduate nine rowers and one coxswain in this large senior class. Lots of underclassmen gained valuable varsity experience this year, upon which they can start building the foundation for next fall.