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Crew hits the water at Head of the Charles

By Kaitlin McCabe '16

October 24, 2013

In its 48th year, the annual Head of the Charles regatta in Cambridge, MA, the largest crew regatta in the United States, proved to be no less of a thrilling competition for the Hamilton men’s and women’s crew teams.

This season, the teams are starting off with a talented roster of rowers.  Six of the eight rowers plus the coxswain are returning members of the Hamilton College men’s crew varsity eight entry that raced at the 2013 National Invitational Rowing Championships (NIRC). Max Geiduschek ’14 and Grant Meglis ’14 are three-year varsity letter winners and Kyle Leahy ’14 and Gardner Reed ’14 round out the senior class.

Meanwhile, Caroline Walton ’15, who was a 2013 Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Division III second team All-American and earned a spot on the NESCAC and Eastern College Athletic Conference all-conference teams, leads Hamilton College women’s crew. Walton rowed in the 5-seat for Hamilton’s varsity eight at last season’s National Invitational Rowing Championships (NIRC) and is one of seven rowers from that boat who are returning this season. Four seniors, including three-year varsity letter winner Keara Fenzel, are also on the roster. The others are Mollie Major, Leah Sorensen and Becca Straw. Impressively, the women finished sixth out of 38 entries in the collegiate fours at last year’s Head of the Charles regatta.

Thus far, the Continentals have competed in one home regatta—the Bridge-to-Bridge regatta on the Erie Canal—on Oct. 12, in which both teams finished in third place. Head Coach Eric Summers is proud of the hard work the teams have demonstrated this season:  “We have made some nice progress this fall.  We implemented a few changes in our rowing technique and raised the expectations of the team which will make a big difference in the spring season.”

Last weekend, the Hamilton teams joined over 9,000 athletes and 300,000 spectators along the banks of the Charles River for the ultimate two-day rowing competition. Summers was not intimidated by the competition that would be faced at the event, commenting:

“The competition is always very high at the Head of the Charles.  This is the race during the fall season and I thought we did a decent job. All of our crews raced well and gave everything they had,” he said.

At the Head of the Charles, the Continentals competed with two men’s boats and two women’s crews.  In the men’s double sat returning rowers Geiduschek and Jack Wildman ’15; the men’s four included coxswain Sawyer Konys ’16, Meglis, Leahy, Jared Lippman ’16 and Landon Morin ’16.  The women’s four held coxswain Sydney Cantor ’16, Straw, Margaret Hylas ’15, Keara Lynn ’16 and Erin Gerrity ’15.  Competing in the women’s eight were Heather Piekarz ’16, Sorensen, Fenzel, Meredith Garner ’15, Maddy Maher ’17, Lily Trapkin ’17, Grace Bowers ’15, Ally Kontra ’15 and Nina Byers ’16.

The men’s team finished in 21st place, while the women placed in 20th place.

This Saturday, the teams will travel to Philadelphia, PA to compete in the Head of the Schuylkill regatta.  Until then, and for the rest of the season, Summers and the entire Hamilton Crew teams are dedicated to improving their techniques and working toward their full potential through “getting fitter and stronger, and gaining experience with our fall racing.”

There is no doubt that should the Hamilton teams successfully accomplish these objectives, they will fulfill their goals for the spring season of winning dual races. Ultimately, the team hopes to place high in both the New York State Championships and the ECAC National Invitational, with an eye on making it to the National Championships.

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