The William Smith College rowing team’s second varsity eight and novice eight won races over Hamilton College and Rochester Institute of Technology on the Erie Canal this morning. The Herons were faced with strong headwinds and challenging conditions in addition to the Continentals and Tigers.
Mother nature greeted crews with 15 mile-per-hour headwinds that built to 25 miles per hour with gusts approaching 35 miles per hour.
In the first race of the day, the three nationally-ranked varsity eights lined up. No. 5 Hamilton prevailed with a winning time of 8:03.67. No. 14 RIT was second in 8:19.77 followed by No. 10 William Smith in 8:29.45.
“We definitely made some improvements from last week, particularly in terms of our commitment to attacking from the first stroke,” Heron Head Coach Sandra Chu said. “But, unlike our competitors, we didn’t handle the wind as well as I know we are able. That’s part of racing and we just weren’t able to convert our technical base into speed today.”
The Heron second varsity eight handled the conditions extremely well, lowering their race cadence and using a hyper-focus on keeping blades tight to the water and then getting them in quickly to surge into first place off the start. Then, using their composure and powerful base, they lengthened their lead, winning in 8:43.43, over 38 seconds ahead of the second place Continentals and more than 47 seconds in front of the Tigers.
The William Smith second varsity eight was powered by Rachael Brown, Anola Stage, Grace Hutton, Carissa Boire, Jennifer Sullivan, Paige Brunner, Maggie Santinelli, Eliza Orrick, and Morgan Burgess.
The Heron novice eight of Alyssa Deem, Kylie Wyskochil, Elizabeth Warren, Emily Smith, Nicole Guardino, Katherine Hesler, Emily O’Brien, Lauren Pomerantz, and Tamsin Smith followed the 2V’s lead and had a commanding open water lead by the 500-meter mark of the 2,000-meter race. William Smith crossed the line in 10:02.17, nearly 20 seconds ahead of the Hamilton third varsity eight and more than 24 seconds in front of the RIT novice eight.
“We’ve spent a lot of time this past week improving on our racing from last week,” Chu said. “All of the boats in the squad showed tremendous improvements in their overall attack and aggression. We’re definitely taking steps in the right direction. The 2V was able to apply our week’s worth of practices the best. There’s been some great growth in this crew. It may be becoming their signature, but the novices again showed varsity-level mentality. These were some of the worst conditions they’ve ever raced or practiced in it didn’t faze them at all. They were also able to apply many of the skills we addressed this week.”
The varsity four race was canceled due to deteriorating weather conditions.
William Smith’s next race is scheduled for April 18 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Herons will take on crews from Colby, Connecticut College, Ithaca, New Hampshire, and Trinity (Conn.).