Tech Opens Season with Head of the Charles

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - MIT women's openweight crew opened its 2009-2010 season this weekend at home, racing in the 45th annual Head of the Charles Regatta. The competition is the largest regatta in the world, and MIT serves as host as well as competitor.

The top two eights from the squad raced the three-mile course; on Saturday the second boat competed in the club eight event, and on Sunday the first boat competed in the championship eight event.

After terrible weather on Friday, Saturday provided near ideal conditions for the club eight race. Led by senior stroke seat Melodie Kao, in her first race since recovering from being injured all last year, the boat was also comprised of one junior, one sophomore, and five freshman rowers. The young Engineers remained poised throughout the race, and coxswain Minna Du executed a masterful turn at the Weeks footbridge. In the end the crew clocked a time of 19:05.8 to place 25th in the field of 41.

Conditions on Sunday were much more challenging, with a strong northern breeze and persistent rain that became a full-on snowstorm late in the afternoon. In the final event of the weekend, the varsity eight raced against the fastest women's crews at the regatta, including entries from England, Germany, Holland, and the US national team. The team was unfazed by the conditions, and rowed hard from start to finish. Covering the course in 18:07.6, Tech beat out local rivals Boston College and Boston University as well as two international crews to finish 23rd out of 32.

"I couldn't be happier with this weekend's racing," said Holly Metcalf. "We earned our best result ever in the champ eight race, and the club eight rowed impressively as well. Even though we are a young team we raced with confidence and skill. The whole squad is happy to have defeated several of our traditional opponents, and this sets a great tone for the year."

The team will travel to New Jersey next weekend to compete at the Princeton Chase. Full results from the Head of the Charles can be found at www.hocr.org.

Championship Eight
C - Grace Lin
8 - Allison Simi
7 - Allison Hinckley
6 - Catherine Crowley
5 - Becca Heywood
4 - Katie Everett
3 - Ariana Chehrazi
2 - Jean Sack
1 - Megan O'Donnell 

Club Eight
C - Minna Du
8 - Melodie Kao
7 - Shawn Wen
6 - Brianna Woeckener
5 - Clare Frigo
4 - Lila Fridley
3 - Rebecca Jackson
2 - Phoebe Henderson
1 - Jenna Sternberg