Forced to take an unexpected road trip to Williamstown, Mass., the Wesleyan men’s and women’s crew teams both fell to Williams last Sunday. The race was rescheduled from the Connecticut River in Middletown on Saturday to the Lake Quinsigamond 2000m course on Sunday due to inclement weather conditions on Wesleyan’s home course. Heavy rains on Friday night caused high tides, strong currents, and a plethora of floating debris that would have impeded the race had it proceeded as scheduled.
The Wesleyan women, ranked sixth in Division III, were looking to rebound after suffering their first loss of the season the previous week but had stiff competition in the top-ranked Eph women. From the outset of the race, Wes looked to be in strong position for an upset. The Cardinal women stayed just strokes behind Williams through the first half of the course, nibbling at the lead with every stroke they took.
Wesleyan’s varsity eight lineup was composed of coxswain Ari Rudess ’15 and rowers Avery Mushinski ’15, Remy Johnson ’16, Kayla Cloud ’14, Clare Doyle ’14, Anne Dade ’16, Margo Tercek ’13, Robin Cotter ’13, and Emilie Sinkler ’14. The boat finished in 6:43.5, 12 seconds behind Williams’s 6:31.5. The Cardinal women’s second and third varsity eight both had strong showings in their respective races, but each fell to its powerful Williams opponent.
When the men’s first varsity eight took the water, the temperature was hovering just above 40 degrees for this storied rivalry race. The two clubs were fighting for the Saratoga Oar—the trophy that has gone to the Little Three crew champion each year since the Oar’s inception in 1968. This prize, a little-known piece of Cardinal history, is made from an oar of Wesleyan’s winning boat at the Great Intercollegiate Boat Race in 1878 in Saratoga, New York.
As the race began, Wesleyan stayed tight with the formidable Williams boat. The men were within a quarter-boat length at the halfway point in the race, but after that 1000-meter mark, Williams began to pull away. Wesleyan finished 10 seconds behind the overpowering Ephs squad, which rowed the course in just 5:50.4 to the Cardinals’ 6:00.4.
The Philip L. Calhoun Cup was the next trophy up for grabs for the men. Given to the light heavyweight champion of the Little Three, the second varsity eight from Wesleyan looked to be in a great position to grab the cup and salvage a piece of the day for the Cardinals. About 90 percent of the way through the course, the Cardinals had a two-seat lead over their Eph counterparts, but Williams came on strong in the final 20 strokes and won the race, 6:00.4 to 6:01.4. To stave off a complete Williams sweep, Wesleyan’s third varsity eight muscled out an eight-second victory, finishing in 6:17.4.
Both crew squads will be on the Connecticut River on Saturday, April 22, against Trinity for their final head-to-head meet before the ECAC Championships.