Aggies start strong to their championship season
by Sean Richardson
Massachusetts opened their championship season Saturday with the New England Regional Championships in Worcester. The squad fielded four boats, sending three to the grand finals, and earning bronze medals in the third and fourth varisity eight categories. UMass finished fifth overall in team points which surpassed last year’s finish of sixth, overall.
Temperatures sat in the high 50’s throughout the morning and crept into the low 60’s as the afternoon went on. The wind was calm during heats and time trials, but a slight head-wind emerged during the petite and grand finals.
Leading off the day was the freshman eight competing in the 3V category. The crew finished with the fourth-best time during their time trial and earned themselves a trip to the grand finals. In the grands, the freshman started strong and fought tooth and nail with Bates for third-place and were able to beat out the Bobcat crew by less than three-tenths of a second.
Meanwhile, the 3V competed as a fourth-varsity eight and raced just once in their grand final. Here, the crew posted a 6:48.348 time and earned themselves a bronze medal.
The 2V started their day with a fourth-place finish in their heat after catching a boat-stopping crab just after the the 1000 meter mark. This meant the crew earned a bid to the petite final where they finished fourth in a time of 6:37.090.
The first varsity eight had one of the most exciting heat’s of the day. Placing second with an incredible sprint in the final 500 meters to beat out Boston College for the second-fastest time in heat’s with 5:57.580. However, their grand finals race was less than ideal, finishing last in the event for a sixth-place finish.
On Thursday, the Aggies will travel to Philadelphia for the Dad Vail Regatta where racing will start Friday morning and run through Saturday. Events for the V8, 2V, and F8 will be a time trial, with the top-12 crews advancing to the A/B semifinals later that day, while the 3V will race in heats.