Men’s crew puts on strong performance at Head of the Fish despite unfavorable conditions

The crew team rows against Middlebury College on Malden River on April 16, 2016. (Sofie Hecht / The Tufts Daily)

The Tufts men’s crew team competed at the Head of the Fish in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on Saturday. The rowing conditions proved to be a challenge for the Jumbos, with larger waves and strong winds picking up in the afternoon. Despite the unruly weather, the team still finished the day with four victories and an overall successful performance.

“Conditions were subpar, so we struggled to get into the pocket initially,” junior Rich Gilland said. “However, we battled the conditions and competed very strongly in every event.”

The Jumbos competed in eight events and medaled in four of them. The highlight of the day was in the morning when the novice eight defeated Marist College by 0.7 seconds to take home first place out of 34 boats. Tufts’ boat consisted of first-year coxswain Nina Benites, first-years Harris Hardiman-Mostow, Rick Boer, Colin Lata, Charles Cornillie, John DiGiacomo, Jack Telman, Michael Wrede and sophomore Michael Thramann. The crew finished with a time of 11.01.53.   

“This was a huge win,” junior Rohail Rai said. “It’s really cool to see the freshman eight win a big race. The future of the program is looking very nice, and we are very excited for the spring.”

The Jumbos had another successful result in their first race of the day, earning a medal for the third straight year in the Men’s Collegiate Single 1x, thanks to senior Andrew MacMillen. MacMillen finished second with an impressive time of 12.46.41, missing first place by just 11.65 seconds. The Hillsborough, Calif. native had won the event the past two years. Tufts also had three other rowers place in the top 10 out of the 18 total rowers, taking home seventh, eighth and 10th.

Additionally, the Jumbos placed second out of 13 boats in their third morning race of the day, the Men’s Collegiate Double 2x. The crew consisted of sophomores Peter Malinovsky and Ross Hamilton. The duo finished the course with a time of 12.41.80, behind Montreal University, which recorded a time of 12.33.17.

Although Tufts did not fare as well in the afternoon races, the team still placed strongly and took home a victory in the Mixed Open Quad 4x. A crew of sophomore Paul Gelhaus, MacMillen and seniors Emma Conroy and Elizabeth Lichter earned first place in the race with a time of 12.26.00, which was 11.14 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Marist College. On top of the first-place finish, the Jumbos also took fourth place and sixth place in the field of 21 boats. Tufts’ fourth-place boat was only 0.78 seconds away from medaling bronze.  

The Jumbos placed third out of seven boats in the Men’s Open/Collegiate Quad 4x with a time of 14.14.47. Tufts also took home bronze in the Men’s Master Double 2x with a time of 14.53.47, defeating 19 other boats. In the last two events of the day, the Jumbos took ninth and 11th out of 23 boats in the Men’s Collegiate 2V 8+ and placed fourth and fifth in the Mixed Open Double 2x out of nine teams.    

Overall, Tufts did not do as well as it did last year at the Head of the Fish. The team is proud of its performance, however, and is looking forward to their last competition of the fall season.

“We definitely did better last year,” Rai said. “But the conditions were not in our favor, and there was nothing we could do about that. We did our best given the circumstances and still put on a strong performance. We have a lot of optimism for the spring, and we are super excited for our last race.”

The Jumbos will travel to Hanover, N.H. on Nov. 4 to race in a novice-only competition at the Green Monster Invite, which will be their last regatta of the fall season.