On a soggy opening day at Eagle Creek Reservoir, the William Smith College rowing team’s third-ranked varsity eight punched its ticket to the NCAA Division III Championship grand final on Saturday. The Herons’ second varsity eight will compete in the petite final.
It was a chaotic start to the day. Racing was originally scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., but the forecast prompted organizers to move the schedule up 90 minutes. Shortly after arriving at the course, student-athletes were told to seek shelter when a severe weather watch was posted for the area. That delay lasted about an hour, moving the first race to 8 a.m.
The 2V was the first Heron boat on the water. They faced heavy rains as well Williams and Wellesley. The Ephs took the lead off the start and never looked back, winning in 7:07.978 and earning a spot in the 2V grand final. William Smith battled back and forth with the Blue. Wellesley had a slight lead through the 500 and 1,000-meter marks. The crews went bow ball to bow ball through the third 500 before Susan Tuvell, Carissa Boire, Caroline DeWeirdt, Eliza Orrick, Emily Shelden, Emma Tiedemann, Emma Dow, Morgan Burgess, and Leila Peraro made a strong sprint that got the Herons second place in 7:20.852, 2.311 seconds ahead of the Blue.
The 1Vs followed with the top two finishers in each heat progressing to the grand final. William Smith was joined by No. 2 Bates, No. 6 Ithaca, and No. 8 Washington (Md.). Kim Goral, Jess Steketee, Lauren Blake-Whitney, Sinead Reilly, Katie Paige, Sarah Gordon, Laura Cappio, Libby Hughes, and Alyssa Trebilcock got off to a quick start, holding the lead through the 500-meter mark, but the Bobcats moved into the lead by the halfway point. The Herons were second through the 1,000 followed closely by the Shorewomen. In the second half of the race, the race positions held steady with each crew building an open water lead over its nearest competitor.
Bates stopped the clock in 7:13.133 with William Smith clocking in at 7:17.728. Washington scored the mild upset over Ithaca, recording a time of 7:22.192, 13.665 seconds better than the Bombers.
In the afternoon’s repechage, the 2V returned to a different course. Although a light drizzle still remained, the heavy rains had temporarily moved off the course. The water was churned up challenging the oarswomen. Taking on Bates, Washington, and Wellesley, the Herons needed to finish in the top two to reach the grand final. The race was tight through the first 1,000 meters, but the Bobcats and Blue were able to pull away down the stretch. Bates won in 7:54.310 followed by Wellesley (7:59.315). William Smith turned in a time of 8:10.410.
The Heron 2V will compete in the petite final against Washington on Saturday at 10:50 a.m. (weather permitting). The 1V will race for the national championship against Williams, Bates, Trinity (Conn.), Wellesley, and Washington at 11:20 a.m.