In high winds and challenging conditions on Lake Whitney, the William Smith College rowing team raced to New York State Championships in the first and second varsity eights and silver medals in the varsity four and novice eight.
In a finals-only race on Day 1 of the championship, Susan Tuvell, Carissa Boire, Catherine Wolf-Rodda, Eliza Orrick, Emma Tiedemann, Morgan Atanasio, Laurie VanBenschoten, Alex Belden, and Morgan Burgess posted a winning time of 7:59.27, 11.61 seconds ahead of second place Ithaca.
It was the Herons’ third consecutive medal in the 2V8 at the state championships following a bronze last season and a gold in 2012.
“The second varsity eight set the tone yesterday,” Head Coach Sandra Chu said. “They rowed a technically confident race that put them out front early. From there, they refused to sit and just kept stretching out their lead. Beating the field by over 11 seconds is a great accomplishment.”
The William Smith varsity eight advanced to Sunday’s grand final by winning its Saturday heat. The Herons tops Division I Marist by 3.05 seconds in the heat. When Emily Davidowitz, Katie Paige, Caroline DeWeirdt, Lauren Blake-Whitney, Sinead Reilly, Aly Clark, Emma Dow, Alyssa Trebilcock, and Libby Hughes returned to the course a day later, they were met with winds gusting to 20-miles-per-hour. They fought through the wind, producing a great, powerful rhythm that carried them over the line 7:14.65, 3.34 seconds ahead of Ithaca. The Bombers had finished 2.33 seconds ahead of the Herons just two weeks ago in Worcester, Mass.
It was William Smith’s third consecutive state championship in the V8 and fourth consecutive medal. The 2010 V8 won a bronze medal. (The 2011 championship was canceled due to weather.)
“I continue to be impressed by this boat’s will to find speed,” Chu said. “They leave nothing unexplored and are not afraid to keep looking in the mirror for improvements. It is a real privilege to coach them.”
The varsity four collided with Marist in its heat, bringing both boats to a full stop. Both crews rebounded to qualify for the grand final. The Red Foxes were second and the Herons took third, the final qualifying spot. On Sunday, Macy Howarth, Grace Hutton, Emily Andersen, Kristen Brayden, and Anola Stage were in third place for much of the race, but walked through Marist in the final 500 meters to take second behind Army. Composed and fired up to show their true potential, they used power and control to execute the plan that had been foiled on Saturday. The Black Knights crossed the line in 8:05.47 with William Smith finishing in 8:19.34.
“I was glad to see this boat bounce back from the collision they caused yesterday,” Chu said. “It shows how much confidence and poise they have; first to progress to the grand final after their mishap, but then to row such a solid race with such great results, is the proof.”
The novice eight won its heat by 3.58 seconds to earn a spot in the grand final. In the final, William Smith was fourth as the raced entered the final 500 meters, but Hannah Glenshaw, Karoline Loretan, Acadia Moeyersoms, Hannah Novak, Sammie Kearney, Margaret Cameron, Nora Burd, Nina Prescott, and Rachel Rosenberg walked through RIT and nipped St. Lawrence by 0.77 seconds to take silver.
This is the third straight year the Heron novice eight has medal at states, following a gold last season and a bronze in 2012.
“The team as a whole rowed with such confidence and composure,” Chu said. “They rowed with the goal of putting all the boats on the podium on a bigger stage. I know their success comes from their commitment to each other and it makes the coaching staff proud to see this play out on the water.”
William Smith will return to the water on May 11, when the Herons complete in the ECAC National Invitational Rowing Championship on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass.