Men’s and women’s crew have impressive showings at annual Head of the Charles

Tufts men's rowers launch off the dock at Tufts' meet with Hamilton, Coast Guard, Trinity and Mount Holyoke at William Shoemaker Boathouse on Sat Apr 3, 2016. (Ray Bernoff / The Tufts Daily Archives)

The Tufts men’s and women’s crew teams competed at the 53rd Head of the Charles Regatta on Sunday. The Jumbos competed in the men’s collegiate four, eight and the Director’s Challenge, and in the women’s collegiate eight and the Director’s Challenge.

Though neither team placed in the top 10 in any of the races, it was an overall good performance from an improving and more technically proficient team. Junior Alec Whipple, who did not race on Sunday, said that he was confident in the team’s ability after the performance at the Hadley Chase Rally on Oct. 14.

“We have been practicing a lot in single sculls, and this has allowed us to take more control of the boats, working on technique needed to hone individual skills,” Whipple said. “The focus on this kind of training set us up to do very well at the Head of the Charles.”

The men’s team finished 35th out of 37 in the collegiate eight race. The eight was coxed by junior Hannah Frankel, stroked by junior Ryan Bell and completed by sophomores Paul Gelhaus, Adrian Tanner, and Mats Edwards, junior Nick Hartman, senior Ashton Knight, senior tri-captain Andrew MacMillen and senior Thomas Hendrickson. The boat finished with a time of 16:06.7, placing ahead of Illinois (16:07.9) and Iona College (16:24.8), but behind many NESCAC rivals, including Bates in third (14:32.4), Trinity in sixth (14:40.8) and Hamilton in 26th (15:17.3). Though this was not a desirable result, senior tri-captain Tyler Hagedorn attributed it to what he felt was an unfair penalty that added a minute to their time.

“A minute is a lot when you row,” Hagedorn said. “The penalty was given to us as we tried to pass a Bates boat and they did not yield as they were supposed to, according to racing guidelines. This caused the boats to come close to one another, a safety violation. The penalty was given to us unfairly, but it caused us to lose a minute on our time, placing where we did. Ultimately, this does not reflect on how we actually raced, and I think that we still rowed well.”

The men’s team had a better showing in the four race and the Director’s Challenge. The four was coxed by junior James Grant with James Miller as stroke. It also consisted of Hagedorn, junior tri-captain Isaac Mudge and senior Hayes Ward. Tufts placed 27th out of 40 teams with a time of 17:26.8, ahead of NESCAC rivals Wesleyan, Colby, Bates, Bowdoin B and Conn. College. The team however, still fell short of other conference rivals Middlebury, Bowdoin, Amherst and Trinity.

The men’s Director’s Challenge, which is a quad event, saw Tufts alumni race against other teams which were not necessarily collegiate. The former Jumbos put in a good showing, placing 19th out of 37 teams.

“The Director’s Challenge is often used as a fundraising event by alumni to help raise money for the rowing program. It was great to see all the alumnae come out and help the rowing program in this way,” Hagedorn said.

The women’s team placed higher overall in their two events. In the collegiate eight event, the Jumbos placed 11th out of 26 teams, with a time of 16:54.8, ahead of NESCAC rivals Colby (17:27.2) and Amherst (17:50.4). The eight consisted of sophomore Jill Armenia, senior Emma Conroy, first-years Eva Elder, Erin Dwyer and Polly Harrington, sophomores Prairie Hammer and Grace Fabrycky and junior Libby Lichter. The time they posted allowed them an automatic spot in next year’s race.

The women’s team did not compete in the four event, but did compete in the Director’s Challenge. They placed 14th out of 34 teams — after adjustment for an age handicap — in this quad event, with a time of 18:40.2. The team consisted of senior Arielle Mann, junior Erika Madrian, sophomore Julia Turner and junior Erika Odmark.

“It was awesome to race in the quad with so many other non-collegiate teams, including the 1992 Olympic quad team. We were very pleased with our time in the race. We felt that we kept up well and worked off of one another to come in the time we did,” Madrian said.

The goal for the eight was to come in sixth to give the team a much better chance of qualifying for the NCAA race in the spring.

“This threshold usually makes up the teams who make it,” said Madrian. “We came in 11th, so we were disappointed about that, but it definitely serves as a fire for all of us to train hard this winter to try and qualify in the spring”.

Overall, Hagedorn was pleased with how the regatta went and how it will set up the team into the winter and the spring.

“It was a beautiful day to race in one of the most popular races in the world,” Hagedorn said. “To compete with all the other teams was awesome. This doesn’t change anything for the winter, though. We’re still going to work just as hard and train in innovative ways, like in individual boats in the spring and rigorous training in the winter, and hopefully this sets us up well for the rest of the year.”

Hagedorn thinks the team is in better shape compared to last year due to the combined dedication of his teammates.

“Our overall performance this year has been better as we are all working much harder, training harder and are more focused,” Hagedorn said. “Our races so far will help prepare us for the last one of the season and prepare us for the winter.”

The next competition for both the men’s and women’s teams is at the Head of the Fish on Saturday, Oct. 28.