This past weekend was another success in the books for the Bobcat Squad. The field was deeper at the top so claiming any hardware was even more difficult than the previous weekend at the New England Rowing Championships. The women looked to solidify their spot for an NCAA team bid as they proved themselves against Ithaca, Washington College, William and Smith for the first time this season. The men in their final race of the season looked to go out with strong results despite the addition of Marist, Hobart, Bucknell, Ithaca, and Michigan to an already deep field.
The Bates crews had traveled home after New England Championships to put the finishing touches on their race plans and attempt to find some more speed coming into the final regular season race of the season. They made the repeat journey to Worcester with fine-tuned lineups, rigging, and technique with hopes of having personal best performances.
The weekend was predicted to be windy so the coaching staff played it by ear and the team was able to practice the course on Saturday before the rain and wind came through. Sunday morning there was scattered light showers here and there, but the wind was a non-factor. Eventually, in the afternoon, the wind picked up and there were pretty difficult conditions for the finals. The wind shifted directions frequently so at times the course had a solid tail wind, while other times it was strictly a cross wind. There were even times that there was a head wind.
The Novice 8 performed at a high level again. In their heat they finished 3rd behind the leader William and Smith and second place finisher US Coast Guard Academy. Their main competition in the heat came from Williams College who they traded bow balls with all the way down the course. Finally in the final 500 meters of the race Williams dropped back and the Bobcats could focus on Coast Guard whom finished a mere .8 second ahead of the women in maroon. In the final this group of first years was close in the early going, but dropped off the pace around the 1000 meter mark and never recovered finishing in 6th place in what turned out to be a very fast final.
|Women's 3rd Varsity 8|
The women’s 3rd varsity 8 had a similar heat to New England Championships where they had an open water lead by 500 meters into the race and held that margin as they rowed on to win their heat qualifying them for the grand final in the afternoon. In the final this young group got off the line quite well and led the race to the 500 meter mark. At this point Blue Bantams from Hartford began to move back into the Bobcats who attempted to hold their early pace. The Ephs from Williamstown eventually caught the Bates Women at the 1000 meter mark at which point both Trinity and Williams extended their leads going one two as the Bobcats rowed to a solid bronze medal finish.
|Women's 2nd Varsity 8|
For the women’s 2nd varsity 8 the heat was business as usual; the Bobcats repeated the result from the heat the previous weekend rowing through the line first and qualifying for a top spot in the grand final. The most interesting development of the 2nd varsity racing was that the Williams coaching staff had finally moved some high power novices into the boat and were sure to have more speed than the previous championship weekend. In the grand final the Bates women got off to a solid start in the 3rd position. The top three crews separated from the rest of the field early as they tested each other with moves and counter moves, while blazing down the course. No team gave way and the margins consistently spread out to about 4 seconds between crews as Williams crossed the line first, Trinity crossed second and Bates finished in the bronze medal position.
|Women's varsity 8|
The women’s varsity 8 race was expected to be a showdown between the Bates and Williams women once again with the question mark, where the William and Smith College women would land in the fray. After the New England Rowing Championships final the Bobcats were eager to have a second shot at the Williams women after placing 2nd only 3.5 seconds behind them, the closest the Bobcats have ever been to the Ephs at this point in the season. The heats played out as expected with Trinity, Williams, and Bates crossing the line first in their respective heats. The scene was set for the grand final. Would it be a repeat of the NERC race? Would the Herons from William and Smith elbow their way into the conversation? As it turned out William and Smith did end up getting the better of Trinity, but as expected the real excitement was between the purple and the maroon. The women from Williams never managed to get open water on the Bobcats as they stormed down the course trying furiously to break free from the trailing Bates women. With 200 meters to go the women from Bates put on an incredible surge of speed closing the gap between bow balls even more. Just when it seemed the difference between the two boats was shrinking Williams responded just in time to stay ahead as they crossed the line a little more than 2.4 seconds ahead of Bates. It was great race. The Bates women were closer than ever and they look forward to the next meeting of these two rowing powerhouses at the NCAA National Championship.
|Men's Open 4|
On the Men’s side of the boathouse the four young men who had success racing as a Novice 4 in the previous weekend’s regatta were this week entered in the Open 4 event. They could be racing against athletes who were in their second, third, or fourth year of collegiate rowing. This inexperienced group went into the weekend with no expectations and they had no heat with which to gauge their competition. Racing in a straight final they knew they had to race with guts and in their final race of the season they performed yet again. They got off to a slow start as always and managed to take a silver medal finish about a second and a half ahead of the boys from Hobart. This crew has had an incredibly successful start to their rowing careers and the coaching staff hopes they continue their progress and intensity in years to come.
The Men’s 3rd varsity 8 capped off a successful championship season this past weekend with excellent results to show for it. In a closely contested heat the men from Bates were able to once again best their New England rivals Williams by about 2 seconds finishing in third, managing to qualify for the grand final in the afternoon. In their grand final there was a clear separation in speed as the Bates Bobcats and the Marist Foxes were unable to maintain the pace early in the race. As they men from Bates crossed the 1000 meter mark they were in a brawl for the fifth place spot in their final race of the year. They separated themselves from the Foxes eventually opening up a five second lead by the time they crossed the finish buoys. It was a great final performance of the year to come in ahead of Marist in the final; the men from Marist beat Wesleyan earlier on in the day, who was a crew the Bates men had lost to earlier in the season. A great representation of just how much improvement these nine athletes made in the final weeks of the season, the ECAC grand final was a success for this crew.
|Men's 2nd Varsity 8|
The Men’s 2nd varsity 8 finished up their season by opening up their racing day with their morning heat against tough competition. They raced to a comfortable 4th place finish in the heat qualifying for a position in the petite final and a second chance to race against their New England competitors Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The petite final, the last race of the spring racing campaign, ended with a strong showing from the boys in maroon. Hobart and Wesleyan got out early and moved away as the Bobcats started in a solid 3rd position, the Engineers from WPI were close behind. The Bates boys were able to slowly move away from their competition with a strong middle thousand and they crossed the line solidly in 3rd about 5 seconds ahead of WPI. This was the same crew who had edged them out by a little more than one second keeping the 2nd varsity 8 from the grand final at New England Rowing Championships the previous weekend. The men again proved that they were able to put together a strong final race and complete the spring season on a high note.
|Men's Varsity 8 post race|
|Men's Varsity 8 dueling with Marist|
The Men’s Varsity 8 had their work cut out for them at this race with the addition of five crews who had all shown good speed this spring season. Coming off a solid bronze medal result from New England Rowing Championships, the Bobcats knew besting these new opponents would take skill and grit. In the heat the Bates men were up against Michigan, who just finished 4th at the Dad Vail the day before, and Ithaca College, who had finished 2nd, 1.5 seconds behind Hobart, at NYS Championships the weekend before. Their heat started fast and the Bobcats were in it from the word go. They trailed Michigan by no more than a half a boat the entire race and managed to stick right with the Woverines, a very strong crew, for the entire 2000 meters. The Bombers did not start quite as fast, but also never lost contact with the Bobcats as they bided their time attempting to reel in the Bobcats who never gave them an inch. The Bombers inexorably clawed their way back into a position where they could successfully sprint to the line and finish ahead of the Bobcats. The race was determined in the sprint. Ithaca charged hard exerting their lungs and muscles to the fullest extent, but the challenge happened too late as the boys from Bates held off the grand push crossing the line .29 seconds ahead of their valiant competitors from Ithaca. The grand final was even faster than the heat with Michigan exerting their dominance finishing clearly in the top spot. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place positions were pretty close behing and there was a small gap back to Bates and Marist who were in a very tight race for the 5th position in the final. Despite pushing hard and having a strong performance the Bobcats were edged by the Foxes by .23 seconds at the line.
|Seniors Peter Haley, Charlie Carey, Andre Gobbo, Matthew Johns and Lauren Hadiaris. Coach Steenstra in the middle.|
It was a bittersweet day for the Seniors Peter Haley, Charlie Carey, Andre Gobbo, Matthew Johns. The team loaded the trailer and Coach Steenstra said a few short words of thanks to the seniors. The men dispersed after the team bus reached campus. The younger members of the team remain on campus for short term classes while some of the upper classmen went off to internships. The seniors will be on campus for senior week in a couple of weeks. It is always such an abrupt end to the season, but the men got a proper goodbye to and from the team at the end of the year banquet.
|Team post racing|
The team was able to say thank you to the parents for their support throughout the racing season and in particular Scarlett Carey who was the main organizer for parent support of the team. Thanks to all the alumni and parents who showed up to demonstrate their Bobcat pride on racing weekends.
|Coaches Steenstra and Foglia congratulate each other on a job well done.|