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Men’s Crew Takes Silver, Bronze at Head of Ohio

By Kevin R. Lang

TEAM MEMBER

After a long day of nearly non-stop racing, the MIT Men’s Varsity Heavyweight Crew came away from the Head of the Ohio Regatta Saturday with a silver medal in the Men’s Club 8+ and a bronze in the Men’s Open 4+.

MIT brought only eight rowers and two coxswains to Saturday’s races, but nonetheless competed in three separate events. Each rower raced twice in the eight, first in the 2.8-mile head race, and then again in a 500-meter exhibition sprint race against four other collegiate crews. To finish off the afternoon, the crew split into two fours, competing once again in the head race. The first four, coxed by Craig J. Rothman ’05, featured captain Andy Hill ’05, Stephen P. Bathurst ’03, CMI exchange student Johannes Schiff, and Jacob J. Ornelas ’05, started at the head of the field. The second four, coxed by Lee Squitieri ’05, featured John J. Cooley ’05, Frederick D. Wang ’05, Filip Antich ’03, and Kevin R. Lang G.

The Allegheny River was typically choppy. Where the Allegheny met the Ohio River, (right in front of downtown Pittsburgh and Heiz field, home of the Steelers,) 10 to 15 mph head winds pushed against the crews and threw up heavy waves. Unfortunately, a virtually nonexistent downstream current did not help to counter the winds.

MIT starts day with silver

Despite the conditions, the eight got off to a strong start in the morning race and quickly passed Pennsylvania State University, opening up a lead of several boat lengths by the finish. MIT could not catch the Marietta College crew that started ahead of Penn State, though, and the Engineers’ time of 14:44.1 was exactly 20 seconds off Marietta’s pace. Carnegie Mellon University, rowing on their home river, finished only 0.3 seconds behind the Engineers for a close third.

“They seeded us third, but before a third of the race was through we’d already pulled through Penn State and were going strong,” said coxswain Craig J. Rothman ’05.

“It was really smooth through the first two-thirds of the race,” said captain Andy Hill ’05. “We were putting a lot of power on and rowing well.”

Rough water near the line made a strong finish difficult, and several novice women’s crews left over from the previous division forced the men’s eight into several buoys along the course.

Nonetheless, the men were satisfied with their first race of the fall season. “It was a good start for the season, and we’re excited for the Head of the Charles,” said Bathurst, who rowed in the seven seat. Bathurst is back at MIT this year after rowing for Emmanuel College at Cambridge University last year, while studying through the CMI exchange program. Two-man Schiff was Bathurst’s teammate last year at Emmanuel College in Cambridge.

Four faces tough competition

MIT won the Men’s Open 4+ race at least year’s Head of the Ohio, but this year faced notably tougher competition, including Olympic training center Pennsylvania Athletic Club. Penn A.C. finished first in 15:02.7, ahead of Wheaton College in second, and MIT in third. The Engineers finished in 15:56.3 to take the bronze.

“It was a really good start to the fall season,” said Coach Gordon Hamilton.

Over 4,400 rowers competed in the 16th Annual Head of the Ohio, representing high school, college, club, amateur, and masters rowers.

Next week, MIT will look to repeat their strong performance in Pittsburgh when they head to the Merrimack River for the New Hampshire Championships.