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Crews Race Well, Set Sights on Head of the Charles

By Erik Balsley, Amy Gieffers, and Robert Lentz
Team Members

The varsity men's heavyweight, lightweight, and women's crew teams, along with the novice squads, participated in the New Hampshire Championships Regatta Saturday and medaled in every event in which an MIT boat was entered.

The race took place on the Merrimac River in Hooksett, New Hampshire on a 2.5 mile course. Despite an early morning chill, a strong headwind, and a noticeable current on the Merrimac (which along with the headwind slowed the times for all crews), and many rowers racing twice, MIT was able to dominate the races throughout the day.

The varsity heavyweights continued with their outstanding fall season by rowing to two first place finishes to take gold in the open fours and the open eights events.

The races were run like other head pieces in the fall, where boats are sent across the starting line one at a time, with a stagger between boats. In these races the order in which boats cross the finish line does not matter, but time does.

In the first event of the day, the men's novice eight event, the first MIT novice lightweight eight finished first in a time of 20:31. The novice heavyweight men's first boat finished 30 seconds behind to take third place. This race took place as the men's fours were rowing to the starting line for the open fours event, and provided the fours with enthusiasm for their races.

MIT had eight boats entered, four from each men's varsity squad. The MIT crews were able to pass slower crews early in the race, and MIT fours finished in the top six places along with places 12 and 14.

The heavyweight A and B boats outdistanced the competition by nearly one minute, placing within eight seconds of each other. However, the heavyweight B boat had complications when a Brandeis University four steered into their path, causing a near crash. Following these crews in third place, was an MIT lightweight four made up from bow to stern of Joe Irineo '98 as coxswain, Erik Balsley G, John Bustamonte '98, Garrett Shook '97, and John-Paul Folch '97.

The MIT heavyweight C four, consisting of Eileen Liu '98 as coxswain, Brad Lichtenstien G, Jared Cottrell '97, Mads Schmidt '98, and Justin Siou '99 felt they were limited by rigging problems and look forward to a faster race this weekend, when they will be rowing in the Championship Four division of the Head of the Charles this weekend.

After finishing this race, most of the fours brought their boats to shore and quickly relaunched in eights. On their way to the starting line for what would be for some the second race of the day, they witnessed the women's novice eight event as it came down the course.

In their first race of the year, the novice team's A boat decisively won the race, beating second place finisher Mount Holyoke College by over a minute. The novice B and C boats finished in eighth and ninth places out of a total of 15 crews.

In the men's eight event, the heavyweight varsity first boat eight had a good row to win the race by a 29 second margin in 18:10. The boat, consisting from bow to stern of Dan Parker '99, Shane Wu '99, Brian Smith '97, Charley Able '97, Karsten Kallevig '99, Mike Perry '99, Robert Lentz '98, Karl Richter 99 and Jen Lykens '99 at coxswain, felt they improved from their race last week at the head of the Ohio regatta. "We were able to keep our focus throughout the race," Parker said.

The lightweight varsity first boat made from bow to stern of Kris Kendall '98, Dan Frisk '99, Balsley, Paul Oppold '99, Folch, Jorge Broggio '97, Jason Switzer G, Shook, and Irineo as cox, placed second to the heavyweights to take home the silver medal.

The heavyweight second boat, which finished fourth, learned a lot from its race, realizing not to start the race too hard. The boat which consisted, from bow to stern, of Juan Carlos Fuenmayor '97, Mark Berte '99, Solar Olugbefola '99, Matthias Baxmann G, Jared Cottrell '97, Shaun Meredith G, Dan Wolf '00, Paul Marquardt '97, and Eric Sit '99 at coxswain, felt they could improve on their fourth place finish this weekend at the Head of the Charles.

Following the men's races, the varsity women raced competitively in both the women's eights and women's fours races. Even though several members of the team were not able to race because of illness or injury, the varsity women were able to put together some great races.

In the eights race, MIT came in second, losing by less than 30 seconds to the more experienced Community Rowing Club. The boat was made up from bow to stern of Megan Reese '99, Sarah Folscroft '98, Amy Gieffers '97, Shawdee Eshghi '99, Mariah Luff '99, Heidi Chang '98, Sabina Ma '99, Susan Dey '98, and Margo Harbaugh '98 as coxswain.

Immediately after finishing the race, and with less rest time than the men, everyone in the boat joined the rest of the team for the fours race. MIT had 4 entries in the race, and even though many on the team had just finished the eights race, the team placed well in the fours race.

The MIT A boat came in first to decisively beat rival Holyoke by over one minute. Coming in third place close behind Holyoke was the MIT D boat. MIT's B and C boats finished close behind Holyoke's second boat in seventh and eighth places. Racing in the B boat, from bow to stern, were Michelle Evans '99, Sarah Folscroft '98, Reese, Eshghi, and Jen Bautista as coxswain. The C boat was made up, from bow to stern, of Jeanne Yu '98, Muneera Kapadia '98, Julie Devine '99, Jihye Whang '98, and Rain Gupta '00.

From racing on Saturday, the women's team learned what it needed to work on this week in preparing for Sunday's Head of the Charles. "I was pleased to see that we were able to row well last weekend, but I know that we will be able to pick up a lot of speed this week in anticipation of the Head," Dey said.

The regatta was a small one and primarily served as a practice for the varsity teams for this weekend's big race. Overall, Director of Crew and Varsity Lightweight Coach Stu Schmill '86, said he thinks that "MIT made a nice showing at the regatta."

"[I] was mostly happy with the freshman teams, the men and the women who both won their events and learned a lot about what crew racing is all about," Schmill said.

This Sunday MIT has many boats entered in the various races in the Head of the Charles, the biggest event in the fall racing season.

Schmill said he thinks that the three squads - women, heavyweight men, and lightweight men - "are looking to have a good showing again."