The first regatta of the spring season took place in the Jumbos’ backyard on the Malden River in Medford, Mass. The men’s crew team raced competitively for the first time since late October 2018, competing against three other teams: the Williams Ephs, the Coast Guard Bears and the MIT Engineers on the 2.3-mile-long river.
Senior Nick Hartman reflected on the state of his team after the long offseason.
“We trained very hard, so our fitness is there,” Hartman said. “Part of [getting back into the season], though, is just trying to find the competitive aspect. After not being able to race against different teams over course the winter, you need to re-find that competitiveness and channel something different for the races.”
The first boats to get their oars in the water were the first varsity eight (1V8) boats for Tufts and Williams. Tufts’ 1V8 consisted of six seniors — coxswain James Grant, Isaac Mudge, Ryan Bell, bow Alec Whipple, Hartman, James Miller — as well as junior Mats Edwards, sophomore stroke Rick Boer and first-year Alex Williams.
In the first race of the day between the two NESCAC 1V8 boats, the Ephs edged out the Jumbos. Williams finished the race in 5:59.84, six seconds in front of Tufts’ boat. Unlike the other categories, there were no championship and consolation races.
Hartman spoke about what he feels went wrong with the 1V8 in their first race of the season.
“We were excited to get back into racing,” Hartman said. “So, right off the start, we were going faster and harder than we usually do in terms of our rate. We ended up sticking with Williams for about the first half of the race, but then they got a little bit ahead. We weren’t able to respond because we ran out of energy.”
Tufts’ 1V8 boat raced against Coast Guard later in the day, finishing runner-up to the Bears, 6:07.37 to 6:10.16. To end the action for the day, Williams won its race against Coast Guard. The Ephs posted a 6:06.26 time to the Bears’ 6:17.82.
The Jumbos’ best performance on the day came from their 3V8 boat which won both of its races on the day. The 3V8 was boated by senior Tamas Takata, four juniors — stroke Peter Malinovsky, bow Adrian Tanner, captain Paul Gelhaus, Mitch Koganski — as well as sophomore coxswain John DiGiacomo and first-years Malcom Zuckerman, Ethan Donnelly and Henry Ross.
Gelhaus commented on the dynamic of being a captain in a boat with some younger, more inexperienced rowers.
“With more years under my belt, I’m in a position where I can give people pointers,” Gelhaus said. “But, if anything, [the first-years] have taught me a lot from a determination standpoint. [The regatta] was one of their first college races, and it’s nothing new from me, so to see the excitement from them is awesome.”
The 3V8 boat took part in two races on the day. The first was a semifinal race against the Ephs’ 3V8, where the Jumbos won by just over eight seconds, 6:21.22 to 6:29.77. Tufts’ boat was actually behind early in the race but overtook Williams and sealed the win.
“In the first 200 meters or so, [Williams] got out ahead,” Gelhaus said. “If your boat’s not in the right mindset once the other boat gets out ahead, it can be hard to pick up the speed to overtake the opponent. But we didn’t have a bad mindset; we just stuck to our plan, walked up on Williams, got out ahead and kept going from there.”
Williams also had a 4V8 boat taking part in the regatta, which impressively beat Coast Guard’s 3V8 in the semifinal race to advance to the the 3V8 championship race.
In the final race, the Jumbos were victorious once again over the Ephs. This time, Tufts edged out Williams’ 4V8 boat by over 28 seconds, the largest winning margin of the day. Officially, the finish was 6:26.16 to 6:54.59 in favor of the Jumbos, who took the 3V8 championship for the regatta.
The final category for the regatta was comprised of 2V8 boats, including MIT’s lightweight boat. This 2V8 was the only boat the Engineers sent out for the day. The lightweight boat defeated Coast Guard’s 2V8 by just under 10 seconds after a scoring mistake where the timers missed the start of the race and had to start their stopwatches over a minute in. The Engineers moved onto the 2V8 final with the semifinal win.
In the other 2V8 semifinal, the Jumbos and Ephs squared off once again. Tufts’ 2V8 boat was manned by three first-years — coxswain Tara Curran, stroke Matias Facciuto, David Gantt — as well as sophomore Harris Hardiman-Mostow, junior Matt Agurcia, and four seniors, bow Samson Braun, Ted Midthun, Jordan Bacher and Rich Gilland.
In the semifinal race, Williams took the win over Tufts, 6:13.78 to 6:22.35, to advance to the final race. Williams would go on to defeat MIT’s lights boat by 6.5 seconds and capture the 2V8 championship. The consolation race between Tufts and Coast Guard was one of the closest of the day. The Jumbos eked by the Bears, 6:24.98 to 6:26.40, a margin of just 1.42 seconds.
Tufts’ next races are on Saturday at Malden River when the team hosts Bates, Wesleyan and UMass on the team’s Senior Day.