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Boston Weather: 62.0°F | Light Rain

MIT Tops 61 Crews at HOTC to Take Men's Club Eights

By Daniel Wang
Sports Editor

Sunday was one of the days that most competitive rowers look forward to. Every year in October, rowers from all over the world come to the Boston area for the Head of the Charles Regatta, the largest single-day rowing regatta in the world.

The event attracts over 4,500 competitors who vie for a title in one of 16 race events.

This year the weather conditions cooperated, at least in the early going, while the athletes, officials, spectators, vendors, and equipment lined the banks of a large part of the Charles River.

As local participants, MIT had a number of entries in the various events.

The most successful result of the MIT contingent came in the men's Club Eights event, where the first of two crews representing MIT scored a first-place victory out of a field of 61 boats, with a time of 15 minutes, 30 seconds.

The triumphant crew was comprised of, from bow to stern, Franz Busse '95, Chris Putnam '96, Jeff Tomasi '96, Adam Cotner '96, Toby Ayer '96, Lorin Theiss G, John Singer '95, Nate Crosswhite '95, with Peter Yao '95 as coxswain.

At this regatta, the races are essentially a race against the clock, as each boat starts about 10 seconds apart, and the winner is the one which crosses the finish line in the least amount of time. The boat from MIT was the 17th to start, but was the 10th to cross the finish line.

According to Theiss, the crew had started out strong and solidly with a stroke rating of 34 strokes per minutes. The crew then settled down to a 32 for the first mile before raising it a little bit. For the finish, they came on strong with the stroke rating increased to 35.

Interestingly, the MIT boat lost a few seconds through an altercation with a boat from Boston College. The crew caught up with the BC boat, but the BC boat failed to yield, causing oars to clash a little bit. The MIT crew was obviously not seriously affected, but the BC boat, along with one from Northeastern University veered off the course and into a bank of the river.

Theiss said, "Conditions were rough from so many boats." His statements describes the boatwash, which results from the movement of a boat disturbing the water, often making travel rougher for boats that following. Considering the result despite the adversity, he said, "We felt like we raced well."

With the victory in the Club Eights, the members of the crew have qualified for the Championship Eights, one of the feature events, in next year's edition of the Head of the Charles Regatta. It is there where some of them will square off against the top college crews in the nation, and a few from other countries.

Theiss and Tomasi have had experience in racing at the championship level. Two years ago, they were part of the crew which won the same Club Eights events. The following year, however, the crew did not finish within 5 percent of the winning time, the criteria for qualifying for the next year's championship event. Having won the Club Eight again, next year, the two will have the chance to improve on their previous result.

MIT had two other entries in the Club Eights event - another heavyweight crew and a lightweight boat. The other heavyweight finished in 16th place, about 40 seconds behind the winner, while the lightweight boat finished 22nd.

Also among the men, MIT had an entry in both the Club Fours and the Championship Fours. MIT representatives finished 16th in the Club category, and placed 27th (17:52.09) in the Championship race.

As for the women, the Engineers fielded representatives in the Club, Lightweight, and Championship Eights categories. In the same order of events, crews from MIT placed 16th (18:32.51), ninth (18:44), and 20th (17:28.8), respectively.

Two MIT professors also competed in the regatta. Professor of Mathematics Hartley Rogers Jr. finished second in the Men's Verteran Singles event. Professor of Biology Malcolm L. Gefter finished ninth the the Men's Grand Masters Singles event.

The next major event for both the men's and women's crews will the Foot of the Charles, which will take place in November. The venue will again be the Charles River, but with a slightly different course. The novice team members will join the varsity in the competition.

After the Foot of the Charles, the rowers will spend months indoors for winter training, then will return in the spring for a full schedule of meets and races.