Cornell’s finest women rowers are back in action after a long five-month off-season. Last Sunday in Rochester, N.Y., the women’s crew began the fall season with a solid performance in the Head of the Genesee Invitational Regatta. Out of 14 entrants, the Red finished fourth in a field including fellow crews from the EAWRC league plus strong Canadian crews.
The squad’s time of 17:05.95 in the morning and 4:47.62 in the afternoon was good enough for a fourth place, only one second behind third-place University of Buffalo.
By participating in this race, Cornell also got a chance to witness some of its competition for its upcoming EAWRC season.
“Whenever we get a chance to race against other crews in our league is great,” said head coach ChrisWilson. “Knowing that Radcliffe would have a crew there and Syracuse would also be there was good practice for the girls. Those are crews that are on our regular school season schedule, so it’s always a good thing to race competitors from our league.”
This race was unique because all the crews had to perform a 5K head-style race in the morning and a 1.5K sprint race in the afternoon. Usually, the two races are held on separate days. With that in mind, Wilson was satisfied that her varsity eight kept its composure both in the morning and afternoon.
“The crew’s overall effort was very encouraging,” Wilson said. “Just the fact that they had taken what they learned in the morning and knew they’d have to go after the other crews in the afternoon to make up for the margin was good.”
The reason for the early deficit was due to steering challenges at the two-mile mark in the morning race. Senior Diana Athonvarangkul, the coxswain, tried to steer her rowers around West Virginia, forcing her to take a much wider course at a turn in the river. Even though the crew was frustrated with that turn of events, it made up the time in the afternoon sprint.
“We didn’t really train specifically for that short afternoon race, so they really rose to the occasion,” Wilson said.
Overall, the crew rowed at a pace of thirty-four strokes per minute, which Wilson believed was reasonable considering the youth of her squad. Out of the eight members of the crew, six are walk-on athletes. Only senior captain Michelle Furbacher and junior Caitlin Mance had experience before coming to Cornell’s rowing program.
“I think that’s another reason that it was an exciting performance because we know that our rowers are only going to get better, and that’s exciting,” Wilson said.