Jumbos cap eventful season with strong postseason showings

Members of the Tufts men's crew team row in a regatta with Bates, New Hampshire and Wesleyan on April 14. Allison Culbert / The Tufts Daily

The Tufts men’s crew team took part in five regular-season regattas this spring — three at home on the Malden River in Medford and two in Worcester, Mass. These races came prior to the team’s two championship regattas: the New England Rowing Championships and the National Invitational Rowing Championships, both of which also took place on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester.

Graduating senior co-captain Andrew MacMillen talked about the Jumbos’ training heading into the championship races, noting their focus on a combination of mental and physical exercises.

“What goes into our preparation is just remembering the fundamentals, remembering how we row and what makes [us] better than the rest of the conference,” MacMillen said. “When we combine the emotional intensity with the best aspects of our mechanics and our technique, I think we’re the best in the conference.”

Graduating senior Josh Kaltman echoed MacMillen’s sentiments.

“We had some really close races [against NESCAC boats],” Kaltman said. “We know that we can stay competitive with anyone in the NESCAC.”

In their final regatta of the season, Tufts placed second of 17 teams at the National Invitational Rowing Championships on May 11 with 193 points, just nine behind first-place Hobart. The team’s top performances actually came from the back end of its roster, as the third varsity eight placed fourth in the grand final with a time of 6:20.10 and the novice eight won its race in 6:23.44 — the novice eight’s first gold medal in program history. The men’s second varsity eight finished sixth in its grand final, while the first varsity eight missed qualification to the grand final by a razor thin margin of 0.015 seconds.

At New Englands a week earlier, the Jumbos had success across the board, finishing fifth in the point standings. Tufts tallied 63.30 total points, less than eight behind first-place Boston College.

The first varsity eight, led by MacMillen, qualified for the grand final race before finishing outside the top five with a time of 6:13.2. The team’s second boat took third place in its grand final with a time of 6:15, coming in behind Bates and Wesleyan, who earned gold and silver, respectively.

The third varsity eight, meanwhile, turned in the best finish of any Tufts boat, taking second place behind Boston College with a time of 6:25.1. The Jumbos’ novice eight raced in the third varsity category as well, finishing seventh in the time trial (5:16.15) and missing the grand final by less than 0.7 seconds. Instead, the boat won the petite final, edging UMass by nearly six seconds.

The first regatta of the spring, on April 7–8, was perhaps the most successful of the regular season for the men’s crew team. It hosted two regattas that weekend: the first against Coast Guard, Middlebury and Williams and the other against Amherst and UMass.

In total, the Jumbos took part in 14 races throughout the weekend. Aside from one loss by the team’s novice boat on Saturday, Tufts turned in a perfect record in the opening regattas, as the first, second and third varsity eights won all of their semifinal and final races. All in all, it was a fantastic start to a fine season for the Jumbos.

In its last home regatta of the season on April 14, the team hosted a pair of NESCAC opponents in Wesleyan and Bates, as well as the University of New Hampshire. The Jumbos’ second and third varsity eights both defeated the Cardinals, while their first boat fell short against both NESCAC foes.

The Jumbos faced even more difficult competition later in the season, often holding their own and learning from the challenges. On April 21, the team traveled to Worcester to take on Rhode Island, Skidmore and a particularly talented WPI squad. WPI won the second and third varsity eight races, while Tufts finished second in both contests. Rhode Island’s first varsity eight won its category, with WPI in second place and Tufts in third.

In a regatta at Lake Quinsigamond a week later, Tufts faced off against Bates and Williams, as well as Div. I teams in St. Joseph’s and host Holy Cross. The Jumbos’ first varsity eight recorded a fifth-place finish, while the second boat placed third in its race. Tufts’ third varsity eight and novice eight took third and fourth place, respectively, in the lower tier.

Tufts will graduate five seniors: MacMillen, Kaltman, co-captain Tyler Hagedorn, Ashton Knight and Thomas Hendrickson. While the team will miss the prowess and experience of these five rowers, it figures to be in good hands. The Class of 2019 has a whopping twelve representatives on the roster, including rising senior co-captain Isaac Mudge. When the torch is passed in the fall, there will be plenty of Jumbos ready to take on leadership roles.