The Massachusetts rowing team will travel to Camden, N.J., for the Knecht Cup this weekend, a regatta that will include 27 first varsity crews and 50 overall. UMass coach Jim Dietz said of the 27 first varsity crews, his team will be ranked third or fourth, while the second varsity crew will be fourth or fifth out of 18.
All the usual suspects will come out to compete against the Minutewomen, including Atlantic 10 competitors Fordham and Duquesne along with top programs, Buffalo and Duke.
Dietz has not finished the process of sorting the lineups, but knows that some members of the crew will have a heavy workload, racing up to three or four times on Saturday and twice on Sunday. Dietz expects UMass to be competitive and meet the challenge of a regatta that hosts a strong field.
What adds to this regatta is the amount of races that will take place. Instead of including the common boats like the Varsity 8, second Varsity 8 and the Varsity 4, the Knecht Cup will also include the singles, pairs and the quads.
Although the singles, pairs and quads will not be competing for points, these groups are comprised of rowers who may be competing for spots on the 23 and under national team.
Dietz said that his team will learn a lot this weekend. He expects them to learn when to push harder, when to ease up a little and when to maintain a steady pace.
He also believes that among the athletes is a “great team dynamic” that sets the tone for this regatta. The difficult lineup decisions Dietz faces have been made easier as well. Each rower knows that if they are switched from the Varsity 8 to the second Varsity 8 or Varsity 4, it is not a demotion, but a strategy that can make a boat stronger than it was before. Even while being subject to tough decisions, Dietz said the team has a great attitude about the decisions.
Alexandra DiMatteo and Amanda Doolin will be representing the B boat and Elizabeth Euiler and Chelsea Wakeham will take control of the A boat, who Dietz is counting on to win first place.
Only the first and second Varsity 8 boats and the Varsity 4 boat will compete for points. The Single race will include three rowers from UMass, Emily Boucher, Kimberly Patrick and Ellis Brewster.
After this regatta training will diminish gradually as they begin to taper for the Atlantic 10 championships.
Eric Mansfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.