MIT Women’s Openweight Crew had its top finish in its three years as a member of the Patriot League at the conference championship regatta last Sunday on the Cooper River in New Jersey. The Engineers placed third in the team standings, behind the U.S. Naval Academy and defending champion Bucknell University, after back-to-back fifth-place finishes in 2010 and 2011.
MIT has been a member of the Patriot league since 2010, and competes with the U.S. Naval Academy, Bucknell University, College of the Holy Cross, Lehigh University, and Colgate University. 2013 will mark the first year that eligibility for the NCAA championship will be determined by an automatic qualifier system based on the results of selected conference qualifying races. The championship is scored on a weighted system, with each of three boats scoring points by position. While individual boats are recognized for their finish within each race, overall team points determined the winner of the championship.
The races followed in quick succession, with only 20 minutes between the start of the first and last races. All three boats faced difficult starting conditions, but managed to come from behind and show the competition what the Engineers are made of. The varsity four led the day, placing third out of five boats with a time of 8:28.31, finishing ahead of crews from Lehigh and Holy Cross.
In the second varsity eight, MIT was fourth out of six, finishing with a time of 7:18.82, just two seconds behind Holy Cross and ahead of Lehigh and Colgate.
The varsity eight race was MIT’s best showing of the day. After coming in fifth place in 2011, the Engineers came in second, finishing just 2.42 seconds behind the winning crew Bucknell, closing a gap of over a boat length over the 2,000-meter course.
In its third showing at the Patriot League Championship, MIT has proved its competitiveness within the league and its tenacity in improving its speed across the board in all of its boats. The Engineers will face Bucknell University again at the Eastern Sprints Championship on May 13 and are hoping to reverse the standings in its final race of the season.