The Jumbos put their boats on their home course, the Malden River in Medford, Mass., for the second and final time this season this past Saturday. Tufts hosted Bates, Wesleyan and UMass in the regatta, which also marked the final time that several seniors would row competitively for the Jumbos on the Malden. The Jumbos celebrated Senior Day to honor their rowers that will graduate in just over a month.
Eleven senior rowers were honored as part of the festivities, including senior co-captains Ryan Bell and Isaac Mudge. Jordan Bacher, Samson Braun, Rich Gilland, James Grant, Nick Hartman, Ted Midthun, James Miller, Tamas Takata and Alec Whipple round out the rest of the senior class.
Coach Noel Wanner, who oversees both the men’s and women’s crew programs, spoke to the rowers and their families as part of the ceremony. It was a particularly emotional moment for both the coach and the rowers.
“Coach Noel [is] always a great speaker,” Takata said. “But [on Saturday] you could see his emotions come out when he was talking about the seniors. You could tell he really cares about each and every one of us. He was getting teared up, and I was getting emotional myself.”
Takata also spoke on the experience of racing at home on the Malden for the final time in his career.
“It didn’t really hit me that it would be my last race there until the middle of the second race,” Takata said. “We’re continuing to practice there, but we’ll never have another regatta there. It was really nice to have all of our families there to witness that.”
Bell commented on the atmosphere of the regatta, and how different it was on Senior Day.
“It was great to have so many spectators come out for the races,” Bell said. “Many of the crew team alumni also came to the regatta, so it was exciting to see all of them come out and support us. They just brought a lot of energy, and you could definitely feel it racing past the boathouse.”
After the ceremonies, all three of the Tufts’ boats (first, second and third varsity eights) geared up to face their counterparts from Bates in semifinal races. In a clean sweep, all three of the Jumbos’ boats defeated the Bobcats to move on to their respective final races.
The Jumbos’ first varsity eight sat Grant as the coxswain, Miller at bow and sophomore Rick Boer at stroke. Hartman, junior Mats Edwards, first-year Alex Williams, sophomore Harris Hardiman-Mostow, Bacher and Bell filled out the rest of the boat.
The group defeated Bates by just over four seconds, 5:54.5 to 5:58.8. Tufts then raced against Wesleyan, who defeated UMass in the other semifinal. The Cardinals came out on top over the Jumbos, 5:55.9 to 5:59.9.
“Wesleyan just had a much faster start than us, and [it was] able to get [its] boat ahead early,” Bell said. “I think we rowed very well through the second half of the race, but from [its] position, [it was] able to just counter any move we tried to make. I think if we can be a little more aggressive at the start, we can put ourselves into a much better place for the finish.”
The second varsity eight for Tufts consisted of first-year coxswain Tara Curran, junior stroke Matt Agurcia and junior co-captain bow Paul Gelhaus. Whipple, Mudge, Gilland, Midthun, junior Mitch Koganski and first-year Malcolm Zuckerman filled out the other six spots of the boat.
The first race against the Bobcats came down to the wire, 6:16.1 to 6:19.8. The group would also go on to face Wesleyan in the final race. Just as the Jumbos swept the Bobcats, the Cardinals swept the Jumbos in their races. Wesleyan won the final race with a time of 6:16.8 to Tufts’ 6:32.6.
Just like the regatta from the previous week, the third varsity eight proved to be the most successful boat for Tufts. In that group, the Jumbos boated first-year coxswain Nilay Maitey, junior stroke Peter Malinovsky and first-year bow Adrian Bauer. First-year Ethan Donnelly, first-year Henry Ross, first-year Matias Facciuto, first-year David Gantt, Braun and Takata rounded out the rest of the boat.
On the way to improving to 4–0 on the season, the third varsity eight defeated Bates convincingly in its first race, 6:15.1 to 6:27.0. UMass’ novice eight boat awaited them in the final. In that race, the Jumbos took home the title for their group, defeating the Minutemen 6:20.9 to 6:30.3.
Takata commented on why the Jumbos’ most amateur boat is still so successful.
“We’re definitely less experienced than the other boats,” Takata said. “But even though we haven’t been together in the same boat for very long, we trust each other. Even though [rowing] seems like an individual sport, the fact that everybody in the boat trusts each other is the most important thing.”
The next regatta for the Jumbos is the Baker Cup, hosted by WPI at Lake Quinsigamond on April 21.