ACRA Action

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This post is a few days later than I wanted, and will likely be the last for the current iteration of the website. We will be doing some upgrades both cosmetically and on the backend, hopefully to be completed by the end of the month.

Lake Lanier – Gainesville, GA – upper 80s to 90s with Thunderstorms – Buoys + Stakes

Links: Livestream | Results

After a long and grueling season the Aggies brought their best down to Gainesville for the ACRA Championship Regatta. As mentioned previously, this would be a historically significant one with opportunities to see both the fastest V8 in decades, the first full novice eight in years, and a 2V8 looking for a third straight grand final appearance.

Day 1 – Time Trial Morning

To kick things off, UMass sent out the V8 for a time trial. Top 16 boats would advance to the A/B semifinal with the remainder to a C/D final. Conditions were great, aside from a boat that waked the top 10 crews, but they pushed onwards nonetheless. UMass edged out a 4th place finish, a hair ahead of BC and only 3.1 seconds off of 2nd place. This would be the best start to ACRA for the V8 ever.

The 2V8 time trial would follow, with all crews heading to an A/B semi, where UMass finished 6th (6:00.0), just behind BC and UNC and just 0.4 seconds ahead of Washington State. In a very strange turn of events, #1 ranked Virginia would finish 9th, opening opportunities for UMass, UNC, BC and Notre Dame to make a run at that top spot against Michigan and UCSB.

The N8 continued this strong showing in the time trials, tying BC and Minnesota for a 9th place finish, all with a time of 6:05.4. With all three eights breaking the top 10, UMass propelled the program into the afternoon with high spirits.

The N4 followed one event later with a 19th place finish, just a few seconds off VA Commonwealth and Vanderbilt. Although they didn’t break top 10, this was a solid finish for a crew that underwent some significant lineup and coaching changes throughout the season. Props to Jene and her band of idiots (to take a page out of the 2004 Red Sox’s book) for their display of resilience and fight over the course of the year!

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Day 1- Semifinal Afternoon

The V8 improved upon an already fantastic start with a 3rd place showing in the first semifinal. Top 4 crews advance to the grand final, marking this the first year a UMass V8 has made the grands at ACRA ever! Led by sophomore Yara Akkeh, freshman Joseph Wenzel, and anchored by grizzled veterans Jake Savona and George “P.I.” Meltzer, the V8 mixed both old and young to have a stellar crew.

The 2V8 continued this trend by making their third straight grand final, coming in 3rd just behind UCSB and Notre Dame. Despite being riddled with injuries, the 2V8 launched off the line, holding onto 1st place as long as they could before UCSB and ND turned up the heat towards the end.

The N8 finished 7th, which initially may seem disappointing, but they only finished 6 seconds out of 3rd place, with some very fast crews in between them. This freshman class has displayed extreme potential and will make next year a real treat to witness.

The N4 finished exactly 1 second off of Colorado in their C final, with a respectable 4th place finish. Again, this boat had seen it all and looks towards next year with potential on their side.

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Day 2 – The Finals

The N8 finished 5th in their B final, 3.624 seconds off those pesky Minnesota freshmen. It will be interesting to see how they fare next year, anchored by one of the fastest freshmen in recent years, Kedar “Stop Talking About That Time I Single-Handedly Stopped a Knife Attack on a Bus” Seetal.

The 2V8 also finished 7th, beating their initial seed by 1 and only 3 seconds off their place last year. Their finish felt much like the end to the Celtics season, one marked by overcoming some spectacular setbacks. At one point this year, the boat had only 2 healthy bodies. Here’s to 2019, and going for 4 straight appearances!

To cap it off, the V8 decided to also finish 7th. The Aggies finished just over half a second behind a top 5 finish, just a smidge off of Orange Coast and Notre Dame. For a first grand final showing ever, a new page in UMass history was written, with high hopes for the next few years as the program looks to get even faster.

Wrap

Overall, it was an amazing end to an amazing season. 5th and 7th place finishes to the top three crews in their respective finals, 2 grand final showings, and some serious runs at some serious money for a very serious program looking only to get more serious next year. To all 12 of our graduating seniors, and our assistant coach Tom Siddall, thank you very much for all you’ve done. This senior class had the opportunity to do something very special and they did: graduate as the best and largest senior class in recent memory while also recruiting the best and biggest freshman class in as many years.

Here’s to another year of spectacular racing!

Eight Time Trials

Eight Semifinals

Eight Finals

Novice 4

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Dad Vail Details

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Schuylkill River – Philadelphia, PA – 80s with a slight tail – Buoys + Stakes

Sorry for the delay in posting!

This past weekend, the Aggies traveled down to Philly for the 80th Dad Vail Regatta: a historic event for everyone. For the first time in many years UMass had a presence in one of the most storied and treasured rowing events in the world.

Day 1

Friday morning began with the freshman 3V8 posting a 6:04 time trial, good enough for 13th overall, allowing them to advance to the heats (top 18). Led by Kedar “Knife-Stopper” Seetal and his beloved band of knuckleheads, the 3V8 came within 2 seconds of Michigan St., Ohio St., and Bucknell.

Over in the 2V8, another top 18 time trial was in order. The JV posted a 5:52 time, just behind UNC and Lehigh. Good enough for 14th, they would advance to heats.

The V8 posted a 5:31 time for a really solid 10th place finish. Just 1.223 seconds off UNC, the Joe “Yeehaw” Wenzel-led Aggies re-established UMass as a Dad Vail crew. As they progressed into heats, all three crews rested up for the grueling summer heat ahead.

The heats pushed on into the scorching mid-afternoon sun, with crews racing for a chance to compete in the petite and/or grand finals. The frosh came in fourth with a time of 6:30, just off Perdue. The 2V, battling sickness on both ends of the boat, ended up with a poorer showing in fifth place. With a time of 6:16 (3s off Perdue), the JV men would have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps in order to shake off the defeat. The V8 had the best result of all, with a 5:51 finish, good enough for 3rd in their heat. This would move the Aggies into the petite final, with a chance to make a splash in the slightly muddy waters of the Schuylkill.

Day 2

The 3V8 would start off Saturday with a frustrating last place finish in their final. With a time of 6:24, however, they were still within a respectable 4 seconds of Perdue and Bucknell.

The 2V8, full of anger from missing petites, came off the line so hard that Devin Caulfield’s seat blew clean off the track. With just meters to spare, the boat called for breakage and restarted the race with a warning. Now full of about as much fury as humanly possible, the Ekim Otucu-led shell lurched off the line at a 49 for a first place finish in the 3rd final. With a time of 6:06, this planted the 2V8 firmly in the running for a competitive petite final showing.

Over in the big, bad Spirit of ’66, the V8 men posted a 5:57 time, seven seconds off Lehigh. Although last is never the place you aim for, the V8 now turns its focus towards ACRA for a chance at redemption.

Overall

After a wild two days of Dad Vail action, the UMass Men came away with some very solid times and even a petite final showing. Each boat placed solidly in the time trials, and the 3V8 and V8 both had great heats. The 3V8 and V8 both struggled in their respective finals but the 2V8 stepped up to exact revenge on all those who wronged them in their own heat.

All-in-all, it was a great weekend of racing on a beautiful course. Many thanks to all who made it out, and to Wegmans for being the official grocery store of UMass Men’s rowing. For those who remember the last time UMass was at the Dad Vail, it was a great sight to behold. Now we push on to ACRAs with a singular focus in mind: winning.

V8 Times

2V8 Times

3V8 Times

NERC Notes

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Regatta Point – Worcester, MA – 70s and lots of wind in lots of directions – Buoys + Stakes

Close, but no cigar. At the New England Regional Championships, the UMass Men fought hard and long but ended up just 0.2 seconds away from a strong third place finish in the V8 grand final. The 2V8 also found themselves in the grand final, and just edged out WPI for a fifth place finish.

To start, the 3V8 came into NERC following of a string of solid races, hoping to make a splash just before Dad Vail. Led by Kedar Seetal, who just days before fended off a bus knife attack, the 3V8 pushed past URI but fell out of the grand final with an 8th place finish in their time trial. The crew regrouped and pulled off a respectable 2nd place finish in the petite final six seconds off Tufts B.

Over in the 2V8 heat, spectators were treated to a long and tough battle between Wesleyan, Colby and UMass before Wesleyan and UMass pushed through Colby’s (very) strong start. After advancing to the grand final just behind Wesleyan, the UMass 2V8 had to pull a bloody brutal backbreaking burst of speed in order to edge out a disappointing, yet still fast finish in fifth.

The V8 also found themselves in a brutal battle against two strong crews (USCGA and Tufts), but pulled out a first place finish in their heat with a time just a hair over six minutes. Advancing into the grand final, the Aggies threw the kitchen sink at Williams, WPI and BC, ultimately coming up just 0.224s short of a medal. Regardless, it was a strong showing for a fast UMass crew.

All-in-all, it was a solid day of racing for UMass and congratulations to BC for a strong 3V8 showing and Bates for blowing the doors off of everyone in the V8 and 2V8. On to Dad Vail!

McGee Cup Results

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DRC – Shrewsbury, MA – 60s and sunny with slight to moderate headwind – Buoys + Stakes

Another strong day of racing for the UMass men. With an slight headwind under 10mph, the V8, 2V8 and 3V8 battled it out against Boston College, Coast Guard, and WPI.

Results on Row2k show just how close a battle it was, with the 3V8 just missing 2nd place behind BC B, and the 2V8 slipping ahead of WPI by 0.99 seconds. In the V8, UMass settled in right behind a very fast BC crew and ahead of WPI and Coast Guard.

Great racing across the board, with BC sweeping every event followed closely behind by UMass. Looking forward to NERCs, UMass hopes to push by BC in what will surely be an exciting battle.

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