By Greg Brenn
After a month of preparation both in the water and on the ergometers, Union crew began their fall racing season two weeks ago at the Head of the Genesee Regatta in Rochester, N.Y., including a medley of races against RPI this past weekend.
Though Union did not participate in the annual Head of the Mohawk Regatta in early October because of poor rowing conditions, both the men and women crews were eager to finally begin the time trial racing against outstanding competition.
Though high winds and torrential rains hit the crews during their races, there were strong performances all around.
The Men’s Varsity 8 boat crossed the finish line of this 5 km course with a time of 16:18, coming in eigth out of 20 boats competing in the Men’s College 8 division. This time surpassed the times of rivals Hamilton and St. Lawrence, who finished a considerable 16 seconds and 12 seconds behind Union’s A boat, respectively. The lineup of this Union boat was (stroke to bow) Jordan Adey ‘13, Stephen Dusel ‘12, Nick Brenn ‘14, Benjamin Phippen ‘14, Powell Wright ‘13, Greg Brenn ‘14, Paul-Etienne Coisne ‘12 and Matt Wetzel ‘13, with Jason Klusky ‘13 as coxswain.
“Hamilton and Saint Lawrence have both been long-time rivals and incredibly competitive competition, and the varsity men’s considerable margin of victory allows us to go into winter training confident for the spring sprints,” said Coisne.Additionally, Klusky felt that the V8 performed exceptionally well.
“The power was great, especially given the rain and wind on the course,” said Klusky. “It’s great to be able to tell the guys that we’re closing ground and to see other coxswains look back at us gaining on them. Walking up on another boat is one of the greatest feelings, and we were able to do it to three boats.”
The second Men’s Varsity 8 boat also performed well, finishing with a time of 16:58. In this boat, Marc Tanne ‘12 stroked, followed by Ken Reiser ’12, Michael Capella ‘13, Sebastian Nilsson ‘14, Michael DeWolfe ‘12, Matthew Kelleher ‘12, Tim Riddell ‘12, and James Harris ‘13, with Devin Bittner ‘15 as their coxswain.
Although rowing in difficult conditions, the Women’s Varsity 8 rowed hard against tough competition such as William Smith, Ithaca, and the University of Rochester, finishing the course with a time of 19:40. From stern to bow, the rowers for this boat were Kate Foley ‘13, Cassie Angelakis ‘12, Arielle Siniapkin ‘13 Ilyena Kozain ‘14, Rhea Howard ‘14, Alex Walters ‘15, Andrea Schwartz ‘14, Darcy Randall ‘12 and coxswain Elizabeth Adami ‘12.
“I felt that the race went well, as always there is room for improvement, but it really felt like the women were rowing as one rather than eight separate individuals,” stated Adami. “Compared to our home course, this was much easier to navigate. There were no bridges with arches which makes racing much less stressful, and while there were many more turns than I’m used to with the Mohawk, they were wide and easy to navigate.”
Both men and women novice crews also raced for Union. The novice men performed exceptionally well, finishing second in their division with a time of 17:44, just being edged out by St. Lawrence, but beating tough crews such as the University of Rochester, Canisius College and SUNY Geneseo. The novice women finished with a time of 22:26.
This past weekend Union crew hosted RPI for a morning of races to keep the rowers fresh for this coming weekend. Both eight-boats and four-boats were racing, of which Union won the majority.Though the fall crew season is short, Klusky is hopeful that the team will conclude the season on a high note.
“We just need to take the momentum we’ve gained from this last race and push ourselves through even tougher competition in Philly this weekend,” he said.
Union crew’s next and final race is on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia this weekend.