Last Saturday, the Wellesley crew team set out on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, MA to defend their 2014 NEWMAC title. All four boats competed in the event, and the first and second varsity eight boats as well as the Blue’s novice boat earned first place finishes. Wellesley’s third varsity eight boat wasn’t far behind, recording a second place finish to help secure the team’s fifth consecutive NEWMAC Championship.
“The NEWMAC championship, more than any other race we compete in, epitomizes what it means to have a collective team effort in accomplishing team goals because all four of our boats gain points based on where they finish that are factored into determining who the NEWMAC champion will be,” first varsity eight rower Olivia Duggan ’17 said. “In this way, NEWMACs is a time to show just how passionate and hard-working every last member of the team is, which is very unifying and inspiring.”
The Blue’s novice eight boat competed against Smith and Mount Holyoke, taking first place with a time of 7:25.9 to beat second place Smith by a commanding 14.9 seconds. In the tightest race of the morning, Wellesley’s third varsity eight took second place behind WPI with a deficit of just 0.6 seconds. Grabbing Wellesley’s second victory of the day was the second varsity eight boat, which crossed the finish line in 7:03.32.
Last to take the water was Wellesley’s first varsity eight boat, finishing in 6:52.5 and outpacing second place Smith by almost 10 seconds. The first varsity eight boat included a handful of All-Conference honorees, including Anna Hakes ’17 and co-captain Loren Lock ’16, who each earned a spot on the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team. Kathryn Barth ’17 was also named 2015 NEWMAC Rower of the Year and Stephanie Kim ’18 NEWMAC Coxswain of the Year. In addition to claiming the conference title, the win guaranteed the Blue a chance to compete as one of six teams taking first and second varsity eight boats to the NCAA championships at the end of the month.
“This was our first major championship of the season, which made it super exciting to be a part of,” Kim said. “We’ve been working towards this race all season and throughout winter training since the winning team gets an automatic qualifier for NCAAs. We went into this race looking to secure our spot.”
The NEWMAC championship was the first of four major regattas that make up the finale of Wellesley crew’s spring schedule, with the last being the NCAA Championships on May 29 in Gold River, CA. Before then, the Blue will return to Lake Quinsigamond this Saturday for the New England Championships followed by the ECAC National Invitational on May 10.
“Our goals for New Englands and ECACs are to make it to the medals dock by having top 3 finishes against the best competition in the country. At both of these races we face the teams that we are planning to see at NCAAs, so we want to make a statement at these first two championship regattas and show that we are a team to beat,” Duggan said.
The Blue will look to build speed and excitement in the next four weeks leading up to their shot at an NCAA championship.
Anna Cahill ’18 is the Sports & Wellness Editor who is pursuing a major in Physics. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, watching Seinfeld and playing basketball. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Photo Courtesy of Wellesley College Crew Team