According to the rowers on Tufts’ men’s crew team, this year has been one of growth for the Jumbos.
“I can’t think of a single athlete who didn’t grow as a rower and as a person this year,” graduating senior tri-captain Zach Merchant said. “The team is primed for even bigger things in the coming years.”
Tufts took part in four regular season regattas during the spring season. The squad saw plenty of wins from each of their boats and added on a second-place finish as well.
Graduating senior tri-captain Doug Burt said the team is faster and more competitive than in previous years.
“We attribute that to a shift in team culture that was made several years ago by former Tufts rowers,” Burt said. “They laid the foundation for us to continue building a deep, successful team. We have more rowers than we’ve had in recent memory and the team is more competitive as a result.”
The team’s most recent regular season regatta was the Baker Cup, which took place in Worcester, Mass. on April 23. The Jumbos faced off against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Skidmore and Washington College, winning three races and losing two.
Among the winning boats for Tufts at the Baker Cup was the novice boat, which topped WPI by 24 seconds. Burt acknowledged that the novice eight has improved considerably over the course of the season.
“I continue to be impressed by the freshman boat,” Burt said. “They’ve continued to get faster each day and have had great results all season. We’re all proud of the work that they’ve done and the base they’ve laid for future generations of Tufts rowers.”
Prior to the Baker Cup, the Jumbos hosted three regattas on the Malden River. On April 15, they raced against Bates, Wesleyan and the University of New Hampshire. In that regatta, the Jumbos went 5-3, as each of their boats earned at least a win, with the novice eight defeating the third varsity eight for its second win of the day.
On April 8, Tufts’ three varsity eight boats took on the Coast Guard Academy. The Bears’ first boat managed to defeat the Jumbos’ first eight by eight seconds. But the second and third varsity eights for Tufts won their races, giving their team a 2-1 record against Coast Guard Academy.
The next day, Tufts faced UMass, Middlebury and Amherst on the Malden and came in second out of the four teams. The second varsity eight for the Jumbos won twice on the day, giving them a perfect 3-0 weekend after defeating Coast Guard Academy.
The Jumbos participated in two postseason regattas. They concluded the season with a first-place finish at the National Invitational Rowing Championship (NIRC), topping 17 other schools. Prior to that regatta, Tufts raced at the New England Rowing Championships (NERC), with the first varsity eight placing sixth and the second boat placing fourth.
“The journey to this point over the course of the season — and over the course of four years for our seniors — was a challenging one,” Merchant said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our guys for the character they’ve shown this year. I’ll remember our races at NERCs and NIRCs for the rest of my life.”