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Women’s Crew Snags NEWMAC Championship

By Ellen Brown

TEAM MEMBER

A cold and rainy morning complete with a stiff tailwind greeted the rowers on their arrival in Worcester for the New England Women and Men Athletic Conference Championship Regatta. The results were a bit brighter than the weather, however: MIT brought home the Florence Jope Smith overall points trophy by a two point margin over Smith College (50-52). In addition, Anne Latham ’02 was named to the All-Conference Novice Team while Jeanne Tomaszewski ’00 and Liz Willey ’02 were honored by NEWMAC Conference Varsity titles.

The NEWMAC conference was comprised of MIT, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Coast Guard, Wellesley, Clark and WPI. The MIT women had raced Smith on April 1st and were looking forward to avenge their previous losses.

First varsity boat takes second

The first varsity started the morning with a strong race. Originally, all seven schools were planning on fielding a varsity eight, so the boats were going to have to race twice - once in heats, then again about an hour later in a final. However, Clark scratched from the event, leaving a single race to decide the NEWMAC Champion. Going into an early sprint, MIT was even with WPI, behind Smith by several seats and also behind Coast Guard. The gritty MIT rowers dug in hard and finished with a brilliant sprint that moved them into second place, behind Smith by 1.2 seconds and ahead of Coast Guard by 1 second and WPI by 6 seconds. Their performance should improve MIT’s overall Div. III ranking. The MIT varsity are currently ranked 14th in the country, an improvement from 19th last week.

Second varsity boat beats Smith

The second varsity event had only three schools: MIT, Smith and Mt. Holyoke. Eager to beat Smith, the MIT women came off the starting line like a cannon. However, Smith had an even faster start and the MIT boat was behind by three seats. Mt. Holyoke was left behind within ten strokes and never factored into the race. As MIT settled into their race, they pulled even with Smith and started to take seats. A move at the 1,000-meter mark pulled the MIT boat ahead by six seats. The MIT women rowed with confidence and passion, pulling away from Smith and pushing for more distance. However, the Smith boat refused to let the MIT rowers go and hung on admirably. Nevertheless, MIT won by over two seconds, avenging a 5.5 second defeat earlier this month.

Despite problems at the start, the first novice boat also dominated its event, winning by almost four seconds despite an over-the-head crab at 200 meters to go and avenged a 33 second loss to Smith on April 1st. The young, spunky novice boat rowed very well and show a lot of promise for next year, as the varsity is graduating fourteen seniors. Both the coxswain Debbie Wan ’03 and coach Bill Patterson enjoyed their celebratory dunk in Lake Quinsigamond.

The lightweight eight dissolved into a lightweight four that raced in the third varsity four event, winning by a huge margin of over ten seconds. Cox Allison Klesman ’03 is learning to love the frigid waters at Worcester.

The second novice eight raced well into second place, adding valuable points to the overall tally. The women’s team is travelling to Annapolis, MD today to race Navy and Notre Dame on Saturday. Related stories: