October 23, 2006

Crews Race on Charles River

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — This weekend at the 42nd annual Head of the Charles regatta in Cambridge, Mass., the Red crews battled in a race that launched practically a thousand ships. Cornell’s successes may not have been of epic proportions, but the Red proved yesterday that its hard work has begun to pay off.

[img_assist|nid=19115|title=crew|desc=Back it up. The Cornell crews competed at the Head of the Charles in Cambridge, Mass., this past weekend, the largest two-day rowing event in the world.|link=popup|align=left|width=100|height=42]
The men’s heavyweight eight placed 14th in a field of 44 with a time of 14:48.132, a solid result that places the first boat in great position for the rest of the fall season. The heavyweight crew also fielded a four, which docked eighth out of 18 boats with a time of 16:30.523. Coming in 10th of 26 with a 15:04.67 finish, the men’s lightweight eight were outraced only by Princeton and Penn amongst Ivy League boats. The women’s eight placed 31st out of 45 competitors, clocking in at 17:11.428.

Both the men’s heavyweight and men’s lightweight eights earned automatic entries for next year’s race by finishing within five percent of the winning boat’s time. Men’s heavyweight head coach Dan Rooke was pleased with the results.

“We’re really excited,” Roock said. “Given what we’ve done so far this year, this race is a testament to the rower’s hard work.”

“We have a lot more potential and we can only get faster from here on out,” said senior heavyweight Ryan Monaghan said. “We did a good job today, we kept the rate up where we wanted it.”

As the world’s largest two-day race and rowing event, the Head of the Charles draws the toughest competition the Red will see all year. Rowed on a 5K course which threads its way through the trestles of six Boston bridges, the race features difficult winding turns that give coxswains nightmares and starboards particularly sore muscles. Since the event is a “head” race, a steady stream of racing shells starting 15 seconds apart flowed on the Charles River all day, spotlighting elite collegiate crews as well as top national teams in the final events.

“The competition is unparalleled; we’re rowing out there against the U.S. national team, Cambridge, Oxford, everybody,” Roock said. The Head of the Charles is one of the highlight races of the fall. In terms of our yearly development, it’s really early on, and nobody’s really prepared to perform at full capacity, but we give the best performance we can out there. The race is an odd combination of going out and having a good time, really cranking, and seeing what you’ve got.”

According to senior heavyweight Tyler Davis, the conditions also played a huge role in the race’s outcome. The timing of the race’s starts was crucial in determining the Red’s results.

“We got stuck in the wake of a boat in front of us,” Davis said. “We started far behind them and caught up, but it’s really hard to pass in a wake. Had we been 10 seconds faster, we could have beaten four or five more crews, if the conditions were better.”

Both Davis and senior heavyweight commodore Brian Allsopp are excited for next weekend’s race in Princeton, N.J.

“Most of the schools that were at the Charles will be there,” Allsopp said. “This week we can work out what we have to do to get those 10 seconds.”

Junior heavyweight Rob McCormack’s words best sum up the crews’ success at the Charles and their upcoming goals.

“We’re total beasts,” McCormack said. “And we’re just going to get better and better.”