WORCESTER, MA— The Williams women competed in the New England Rowing Championships on Lake Quinsigamond today. The long all-day regatta consisted of heats and finals for most boats, but the sunny conditions made for a wonderful day at the lake.
Louisa Abel coxed Caroline Kessler, Sam Lazar, Maddy Boutet, Eileen Russell, Julia Mini, Diana Matthiessen, Bertie Miller, and Clara Beery in the varsity race. The Williams women secured a position in the grand final in their heat. "We got to the start line feeling excited about keeping our heads in the boat and staying focused on creating a nice rhythm," says 3-seat Diana Matthiessen. "We were down off the start, and we fought hard to walk up on WPI and Wellesley through the middle of the race." The 1V finished in 5th place with a time of 7:00.5, just one second behind Wellesley.
The 2V took first place in their morning heat, definitively securing a spot in the grand final. Facing off against Bates, Wellesley, Tufts, Wesleyan and WPI in the final, the Williams 2nd varsity boat had their work cut out for them. Stroke seat Fiona Yonkman was enthusiastic about the race, saying "we had the best start of any race this season, so we were in the mix right off the bat. I think that we took all of our moves together and were calm and collected while still being aggressive every stroke." Their unified strength kept them just ahead of the Wellesley and Tufts crews, and the Ephs were able to clinch a second place finish with a time of 6:54.23. Bates College took first with a time of 6:45, but Fiona reports that the 2V is "ready to go for gold next week!"
Brittany Chung, Emily Saulnier, Harper Johnson, Anna Bruce, Josie Maynard, Sarah Yang, Abi Matthew, Betsy Button, and Ria Hanson competed in the 3V event. Bates led the field, but it was a neck and neck race for second place, and Wesleyan, Wellesley, and Williams ended up finishing with times of 7:18.7, 7:19.2, and 7:20.5 respectively. "It was a tight race the whole way down. We didn't make it to the medal dock, but the whole boat is excited for the next 6 days and to see what we can bring to NIRCs," says Sarah Yang.
NERCs has not historically had a 4V event, but there was one this year, meaning that the Williams boat could race against other 4Vs rather than racing up in the 3V event as they have in years past. Rebecca Tauber coxed Amelia Jamond, Grace McCabe, Annabelle Feist, Maddie Dyke, Nicole Fernandes, Allie Campbell, Grace Chamberlin, and Crystal Ma in the race. Only Bates, Wellesley, Tufts, and Williams had 4Vs, so the boats automatically advanced to a grand final. The 4V struggled to find rhythm off the start, and ultimately took fourth place with a time of 7:41. "It was a tough day at NERCs," says 5-seat Maddie Dyke, "but it clarified a lot of things for the team and we're ready to train hard this week to bring new energy to NIRCs next weekend."
The 2V women led the day with their silver medals, while the remaining boats were left wanting more. The team will have another chance to compete in Worcester next weekend, for the National Invitational Rowing Championships. Diana Matthiessen summed up the day by saying, "there was some really good racing out there today, and it was awesome to be a part of it. Overall, I'm super proud of all our boats today, and I'm excited to see how we do next weekend!"