Boston, MA-- It was a tale of two weather systems at the 52nd Head of the Charles. After the Williams Men's second varsity boat competed in a driving rainstorm on Saturday, it was the job of the first varsity boat to deal with strong, variable winds that reached upwards of 20-30mph at points throughout the course.
Competing in the first varsity boat were coxswain Devin Flynn '18, Andrew Rondeau '17, Alex Ruberto '17, Michael Polson '17, Erik Bovino '19, Felix Knollman '19, Aaron Finder '17, Sam Armstrong '19, and Graham Buchan '17. This boat was full of experience and had been excited to display the fitness they had been developing all summer in the Men's Collegiate 8s event, full of other Division 3 schools and club teams from Division 1 schools, and some international crews as well.
Fighting through winds that made steering and rowing far more difficult than usual, the Ephs powered their boat down the course. The first section of the race provided the crew with a strong challenge as winds battered the boat during the powerhouse stretch. However, the resilient crew fought tooth and nail to the finish line, improving their standing with each section. Though they gave it their all, their efforts ended up in an 11th place finish with a time of 16:38, ahead of NESCAC rivals Wesleyan and Trinity and behind Bates.
"The conditions were absolutely horrendous, the worst since I've gone in 1977," said Coach Peter Wells '77. "They really, really dug in from Riverside [Boat Club] to the finish, which I thought was really admirable. I thought they showed a lot of character."
"While we could have executed our plan better, we still hung tough after a very difficult start in the 30mph headwinds," commented captain Andrew Rondeau. "It took a lot of maturity to stick with the plan and the pressure after that initial shock, and I look forward to bringing that maturity with a lot more boat speed to New Jersey for the Princeton Chase this coming weekend."
Though disappointed in their result, the Williams Men's 1v has one more shot to prove their speed this fall, which takes place next Sunday, 10/30 at the Princeton Chase.