Women's crew places well at regatta
By Laura Opsasnick
and Becky Dumas
The women's crew team ended their fall racing season on a high note placing well amongst the competitors in the Foot of the Charles this past Saturday and Sunday. Since novices are not able to participate in the Head of the Charles, the Foot of the Charles serves as their major head race of the season. Varsity teams are allowed to enter fours; the MIT varsity entered two fours, an open four and a lightweight four. The varsity races took place on Saturday and the novices raced on Sunday. The novices entered four eights into a field of 38 eights.
Saturday's rowers met a slight headwind but good racing conditions. The MIT open four of Barb Sigmund '92 (coxswain), Laura Opsasnick '90 (stroke), Becky Dumas '90, Wendy Rowell '90 and Beth Jones '90 (bow) started first with Boston University's first four starting right behind. The lightweight four of Liz Yap '92 (coxswain), Lola Matysiak '91 (stroke), Laura Beecroft '91, Cynthia Holcroft '92, and Amy Bowen '92 (bow) began sixth and were the only lightweights in the race. The open four fought BU the whole way, gaining and losing distances throughout the entire powerhouse stretch; but, with the help of skillful steering and inspiring coxing from Sigmund, the four senior rowers rowed one of their best races of their careers and finished second to BU by only 5 second over the 2.5 mile course. Their finish time was 16:11, BU's was 16:06. The lightweight four bravely battled the other larger crews and rowed their best within the powerhouse stretch. Their finish time was 18:08. Ten crews raced on Saturday including four BU fours, two Simmons fours, a Tufts four, and three MIT fours. Four coxswains rowed in the third MIT four and finished with a time of 19:28.
The novices entered four crews into Sunday's race. Because of the severe winds and whitecaps in the basin, the starting line was moved to the BU boathouse instead of MIT's boathouse, and the finish line was extended past the traditional Newell (Harvard) boathouse finish. The first boat of Ann Ray '93 (coxswain), Stefanie Spencer '93 (stroke), Bethany Foch '93, Sasha Wood '93, Laura Fleming '90, Jennifer Bittner '93, Miriam Lawler '93, Jackie Moore '92, and Heidi Gibson '92 (bow) finished in seventh place with a time of 15:34.
The large field of crews and terrible conditions created a coxswains nightmare -- especially for the second boat coxswain whose boat's rudder became loose and resulted in very little steering control. Nevertheless, the second boat finished in 24th place. The third boat also had its difficulties -- the 5 seat rigger broke preventing both the 5 and 6 seat rowers from rowing at all. The third and fourth boats finished 36th and 37th respectively.
This race marked the end of the fall racing season. The crews will continue to row on the water until it freezes and forces them inside for the winter, during which time they will be thinking ahead to their first race the third week of March.
(Laura Opsasnick '90 and Becky Dumas '90 are captains of the women's varsity crew team.)