Williamstown, MA -- When the leaves explode into dazzling hues of red and orange, and the crisp air of fall creeps back into the Purple Valley, one knows that it is time for Williams men's crew to get back on the water for their fall campaign.
Head coach Marc Mandel returns for his second year guiding the program and is joined by returning novice coach Graham Marks. Also helping out with the novices this fall is new coach Ben Bradshaw. Leading the team will be senior captains Drew West and Adam Zoen.
The squad will be bolstered by near 100% retention from last year's strong freshmen class, who now make up a majority of the varsity roster. Coach Mandel has emphasized that strong retention will be the key to the program's long term success, and the sophomores certainly set a high bar following the first year of Mandel's tenure.
Entering racing season Mandel has seen great strides from his young squad, especially in terms of organizational depth: "Entering my second year at Williams, off the bat the most striking difference from last year is simply the depth within the program. From how each of our athletes is learning to move the boat to our overall level of fitness, there is marked improvement from top to bottom. Additionally, we've managed to stay healthy throughout the entire fall, a tribute to strenth coach Marshall Creighton's guidance in the weight room, Yasmin Wilkinson's care in the training room, and simply our athletes' detail-oriented approach to taking care of themselves."
An exciting incoming class of novices, under the guidance of coach Marks and coach Bradshaw will be sure to bolster this depth even further come spring time. Coach Mandel is excited to see how the novices develop over the fall and winter: "In true Williams crew tradition, we have a large number of novice athletes learning the sport this fall. Coach Marks and coach Bradshaw have been hard at work introducing this group to the sport and I am excited to watch their development over the course of the year."
As was the case last year, Mandel is again using the fall season to lay a strong technical foundation from which the team can build upon for spring sprint racing and championships. The returning rowers have adjusted well to coach Mandel's stroke style and are showing more experience and unity in their rowing.
"While the focus of our fall season remains on building a strong foundation for the spring season and beyond, it will be exciting to test our speed in head races over the next several weeks. Given the relative youth of our squad, I expect significant strides will made day to day and week to week from now through the end of May," said Mandel about the team's upcoming racing and progress towards May.
This fall the Ephs will be competing in three head races: the Snake, the Charles, and the Fish. These races held over longer courses than spring racing will give Williams a chance to test their foundation against other colleges who they will meet again in the spring.
Racing begins Saturday October 13th at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, MA at the Head of the Snake.