When Wesleyan’s crew teams headed up to Malden, Mass. for the Tufts Regatta, the trip only paid off for half of the Cardinal competitors. The men’s crew team improved to 9-2 on the season after a victory over Tufts and Bates, the fourth-ranked team in New England. However, the Cardinal women were not so lucky, unable to continue their winning ways after getting upset on Mystic River in their opening heat.
The Regatta—the Jumbos’ largest race of the season—dates back to the early 1990s Tufts hosted the Cardinals, Bates, Wellesley, and University of New Hampshire for the 11th consecutive year of the race.
Wesleyan men battled host Tufts in the first race of the heat/final format competition. The Cardinals—whose first varsity 8 consisted of Ben Record ’15, Tenzin Masselli ’15, Keegan Dufty ’14, Bryce Hollingsworth ’13, Chris Nanda ’16, Sam Hoefle ’13, Trevor Michelson ’13, Peter Martin ’14, and coxswain Grant Nikols ’13—took the early lead, and the Jumbos never managed to recover. Wesleyan finished the 2000m sprint in 6:16.32, edging out Tufts’ 6:21.27.
That bought the Cardinals, ranked third in New England, a final-round race against Bates, who had defeated UNH in the first round of competition. Bates, who has recently emerged as a national powerhouse in the water, had rowed in 6:16.10 in its opener, so the Cardinals knew that a tough race was ahead of them.
Bates had competed in the San Diego Crew Classic the previous weekend, and its top boat finished a disappointing fourth of six in its race.
“They got roughed up in California last weekend,” said Michelson, co-captain of the men’s squad, “so we knew they’d try to prove that was an anomaly. We had to be ready for them.”
Once again, a strong start helped the Cardinals build an early lead, and they won the race easily with a 10-second margin of victory. Bates improved upon its round-one time—finishing five hundredths of a second quicker at 6:16.05—but Wesleyan improved astronomically, shaving an incredible 10 seconds off of the previous pace and finishing in 6:06.55.
“We saved our energy for the second race, so we wanted to make a real statement,” Michelson added. “We wanted to get into the driver’s seat and we were lucky enough to be able to do that as we were going through the race, and we ended up smoking them. It was awesome.”
The men’s second varsity 4 and 8 both earned victories, as well, finishing in 6:22 and 7:34, respectively. The second varsity 8 improved to 8-0 on the season.
Though the women’s crew team trotted out the same first varsity 8 that had won a week earlier on Lake Quinsigamond, the boat was not able to maintain its success as Wellesley edged the Cardinals out in the first round of the regatta. The Cardinal women—Emilie Sinkler ’14, Robin Cotter ’13, Remy Johnson ’16, Annie Dade ’16, Emma Koramshahi ’16, Kayla Cloud ’14, Clare Doyle ’14, Avery Mushinski ’15, and coxswain Ari Rudess ’15—rowed to their worst 2000m finish of the season in this race, finishing the rough course in 7:04.25.
Wesleyan never seemed to stand a chance against its opponents from Wellesley, who maintained a fairly consistent lead that stretched to five seconds by the end of the race. Wellesley finished the race in 6:59.84.
The women’s second and third varsity 8 met a similar fate to their first boat counterparts, both finishing second behind the women from Wellesley.
The competition will only heat up from here. Wesleyan’s next two races are against Williams and Trinity, two teams that the Cardinals have not beaten in over a decade.
The Williams race, their only home race of the season for the men and women, is this Saturday, April 20. While the race is a half-mile from campus on the Connecticut River, there will be just as much smoke there as there will be on campus in this Little Three matchup that is sure to keep the rivalry burning.
“It’s going to be a dogfight,” Michelson pointed out. “We expect to see the number one team in New England on Saturday, the champions for the past four years. We’re all excited getting ready for it.”
He continued, “They’re fast, but they’re not untouchable. They’re some of the best in the country, and we all know that, and we’re constantly reminded of that. We’ll just have to show up on race day, and we’ll have six minutes to decide if we win or we lose.”