WORCESTER, MA--Men's crew returned to Worcester for their final race of the season, the National Invitational Rowing Championship (NIRC) this Friday. Williams raced boats in the Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight, Novice Eight, and Varsity Four events. A light tailwind persisted throughout the day on the course.
The first boat to row was the Ephs Frosh Four, competing in the Varsity Four event because there is no Novice Four event at NIRC. In the morning's heats the Ephs placed sixth in their heat with a time of 7:43 and advanced to the afternoon's petite final. In the petite, the Ephs found themselves in a tight battle for fifth against Bucknell. The Ephs were able to row through Bucknell in the final stretch of the race to finish fifth in a time of 7:30.
Next up, the other boat of Eph frosh rowed in the Novice Eight event. The Novice Eight race featured just a final with a deep field of fast crews. After a restart due to breakage in the Tufts boat, the Eph frosh fell back on the field off their second start. Through the middle thousand they fought back on Tufts in their adjacent lane and came into the final stretch with open water on Tufts, in hot pursuit of the leaders Boston College. The Ephs launched a strong sprint to the finish, earning the bronze medal in a time of 6:13, behind winner Boston College in a time of 6:07.
Jarrett Heflin '20 was proud of how his boat performed and the training that they done together throughout the year: "We laid down our best race yet. We faced some very tough competition and really held our own. It was a close race to walk away with bronze, but I am proud of the work that every one of us has put in this year and the results that we have been able to achieve together."
The third event of the day was the Second Varsity Eight. In their morning heat the Ephs found themselves locked in a battle with Boston College for the fourth position, with a ticket to the afternoon's petite final on the line. Coming into the final stretch of the race the Ephs trailed Boston College. When Coxswain Jamie Sullivan '18 gave the call to sprint through Boston College, the boat came together and took seats back on Boston College, passing them at the line to take fourth in 6:21, just .4 seconds ahead of Boston College. In the afternoon's petite final the Ephs fought hard against a strong field of crews, finishing sixth in a time of 6:25.
Adam Zoen '19 was proud of his crew's effort on Friday and is optimistic about the boat's performance in future seasons: We were able to execute our race plans as we wanted to and most importantly came away feeling like we left every ounce of our effort out on Lake Quinsigamond. Although unfortunately that didn't result in the finishing position we were hoping for, we raced some really fast crews today. It's now up to us to strive to find a similar level of speed over the next year, and this result will certainly serve as motivation to do so. That being said I think we can be very proud of our overall growth over the course of the season. Across the boat we've made tremendous strides in our technical ability and fitness that translated into some impressive speed by the end of the season." Zoen also highlighted the important senior leadership provided by Erik Kessler, Noah Krawitz, and Aaron Finder this season.
The Varsity Eight capped off the day's action with their strongest performance of the year. In the opening heat the Ephs lined up between Hobart and RIT, two strong crews the Ephs have yet to race this season. In a tight race that saw only four seconds separate first and third place, the Ephs took second in a time of 5:57 behind Hobart and ahead of RIT to advance to the afternoon's grand final. The grand final featured an incredibly tight field, with all qualifying crews finishing between 5:54 and 5:57 in the morning's heats. The Ephs put together an incredibly strong showing, battling reigning New England Champion WPI neck and neck down the course for the bronze medal. The Ephs fell just short one second short of WPI and the medal dock, finishing in fourth with a time of 6:07. The race was won by Hobart in a time of 5:59.
A huge congratulation and thank you goes out to graduating seniors Erik Kessler, Noah Krawitz, Aaron Finder, Graham Buchan, Andrew Rondeau, Alex Ruberto, and Charlie Sheils for their four years of dedication to Williams Men's Crew. Their guidance has been integral to the team's success this year.
Fourteen members of the Eph crew will continue their season into the summer, competing at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in England in July.