The men’s and women’s crew teams headed to the City of Brotherly Love on Saturday, March 26 to participate in the 34th Memorial Murphy Cup. The crews showcased what is to come for the rest of the spring season. It was a culmination of rigorous practices, a talented first-year class, and an intense drive coming from a stupendous fall conclusion at the Head of the Fish Regatta in October for both teams.
Five months ago, the Wesleyan crew program went to Saratoga, NY to compete in the Head of the Fish Regatta, or The Fish, during an oddly warm and beautiful Halloween. The men returned to campus with a second place finish by the novice eight, who tapped into their unharnessed potential in the morning. The men’s varsity boat followed suit that afternoon to take in a second place finish.
The women’s squad entered two boats in the Collegiate 2V, claiming first overall in that event with a time 12:12.14. Novices also showed impressive results only succumbing to Williams by mere seconds. Upon the conclusion of the events, they found themselves placing fourth overall out of sixteen teams.
Prior to March 26th’s Murphy Cup Regatta, the teams spent time training in DeLand, Fla. DeLand is a small city that is north of Orlando by approximately 30 miles and west of Daytona Beach. This setting is where multiple collegiate crew squads from around the country participate in spring training. The athletes worked day in and day out on their tans, but more importantly they improved their cohesiveness as a unit and gained crucial time on the water.
Over spring break, the teams worked relentlessly to foster an environment where they can all succeed. The women’s side is riding a wave of success from the fall and hoping to finish strong behind their impressive group of seniors. Both groups were joined by talented first-year classes that have consistently shown potential to compete with other elite recruiting classes from around the country. The teams hope to unify these prospects with their leadership. Hard work has been ingrained in the veteran rowers, and would thus permeate the culture of the entire program.
The Murphy Cup results act as a strong indicator of the improvement of this program, which is eyeing glory at the The Eastern College Athletic Conference/National Invitational Rowing Championship (ECAC/NIRC) on May 8.
The events kicked off for Wesleyan with the women’s junior varsity boat competing Saturday morning with competitors that included United States Naval Academy’s “B” team, St. Joseph’s University, and Lehigh University in the fourth heat of the event. The women finished with a time of 7:00.20, allowing them to advance to the Petite Final. Next up for the women was the DII/DIII boat that got a time of 7:13.38, reaching the Grand Final. The women’s DI boat rowed to a time of 6:45.53, advancing to the Petite final amongst other strong foes.
The men’s 2V led the way for their side. They faced stiff competition in their heat, in which they ended up finishing with a time of 6:13.68. This placed them next to Temple University and the University of Virginia, who finished a second apart from each other. The men’s junior varsity squad made it to the Petite Final. The men’s varsity eight finished with a time of 5:59.9, qualifying for the Grand Final in their event. The third boat finished with a mark of 6:24.17, placing second in their final.
“The 1v beat last year’s New England Champion Bates in the heats,” said captain Chris Nanda ’16. “It was a really strong way to start the season, and it reflects all the hard work that they put in over the winter. The third boat executed their race plan really well. They took second place, and starting off the season with medals is always great.”
Every Wesleyan boat moved onto a final race, an impressive feat for any program. The women’s junior varsity placed third in the Petite Final with a time of 7:01.22. Following them were the Women’s DII/DIII team that got sixth place with a time of 7:24.96 in the Grand Finals. Next up was the Women’s DI boat, which placed fourth in the Petite Final with a time of 7:01.48. The Murphy Cup served as an outstanding portrayal of the women’s efforts, as each boat saw very pleasing results.
The men’s 2V coasted to victory, crushing the Petite Final with a time of 6:13.30.
“The 2v’s second race was an awesome piece,” Nanda said. “We came out really fast, establishing a strong lead off the start. The entire race was really aggressive and winning the Petite Finals got everyone excited about the season of racing.”
Next up was the men’s varsity eight, which placed sixth in the Grand finals with a time of 6:14.15.
“I’m really happy with how the squad did,” Nanda said. “We put in a ton of work over the winter and spring break. If we continue to bring the same focus and work ethic every practice that we brought this week, I don’t see a limit to what the team can do.”
This sentiment is shared by not only the men, but also the women’s team that is working tirelessly to bring home those medals. Both teams should be commended for their accomplishments, and each program is looking forward to investing their time into producing more results. The men and women travel to Worcester, Mass. on April 2 to race against Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Colby, Middlebury, and University of Massachusetts for a dual race on Saturday.