April 5, 2009
LEWISBURG, Pa. - The women's openweight crew traveled to Bucknell for its first race of the season on Sunday. It was a beautiful morning on the Susquehanna River, and the crews raced on flat water against a strong current with a slight cross breeze. Despite falling just short in all three events, the Engineers were consistently competitive from the start to the finish line.
First up was the varsity eight, and MIT attacked early with a fierce start. Settling in at an aggressive 36 strokes per minute, the Engineers fought hard for their time of 6:56.5, but ultimately fell to the Bucknell varsity eight (6:48.8) and second varsity eight (6:52.6).
The Engineers' second varsity eight then faced the Bucknell lightweight and freshman eights, and managed to maintain contact over 1500 meters. In the last 500 both Bison crews pulled away, with their freshman winning (6:54.3), followed by their lightweights (6:57.0), and the MIT second boat (7:08.5).
For the final race the Bucknell freshmen faced the top eight freshmen from MIT. All of the Engineers in this race took to the water for the second time that day, as the crew was comprised of a coxswain and six rowers from the varsity eight, and filled out with two rowers from the second varsity eight. After Tech jumped to an early lead off the line, Bucknell pulled even and both boats stayed level until the final 500. At that point MIT made a move and pulled ahead one seat, but Bucknell responded by taking up the stroke rate in the last 20 strokes to squeak out the win. The winning time was 6:59.0, with the young Engineers close behind at 7:01.5.
"I am very pleased with today's racing," remarked head coach Holly Metcalf. "We executed our race plan in all three boats, and everyone rowed extremely hard. Last year we also faced Bucknell in our first regatta of the season and lost by 29 seconds. To have closed the gap to under ten seconds in one year is very encouraging, especially with seven freshmen in our top boat."
Next the team travels to Washington, D.C. to race in the George Washington Invitational on Friday and Saturday.