Emily Boucher’s first-place finish in the Singles Final helped make sure the Massachusetts rowing team was able to stack up well against the likes of Duke, Connecticut, West Virginia and others in this past weekend’s Knecht Cup regatta in Camden, N.J.
The Minutewomen competed in over a dozen races in the regatta, including the Varsity 8, Junior Varsity 8, Varsity 4, Second Varsity 4, Lightweight 4 and the Lightweight 8.
This weekend saw UMass’ biggest challenge of the season thus far, as the crew had to go up against top-rate competition in their first multi-day regatta of the year. Crew teams from over 50 schools were on the water vying for victory. Atlantic 10 rivals Duquesne, Fordham, Temple and La Salle were also in attendance looking to improve their marks and prepare themselves for the upcoming A-10 championship.
It was Boucher who shined brightest for the Minutewomen, as she finished first in the Singles Final on Sunday, with a time of 8:37.15. Boucher’s performance was masterful, as she finished the race with more than four seconds between herself and second-place Duke. In order to qualify for Sunday’s event, it took a strong second-place finish in Saturday’s semifinals, in which Boucher clocked in at 8:49.37. Teammate Amy Nash also raced in Sunday’s Singles Final, which she finished with a time of 9:10.58.
The Minutewomen were also able to come up with first-place finishes in the Pair, Varsity 4, and Second Varsity 8 in Saturday’s preliminary heats to propel them into three of the seven Grand Final races. The other three races they made were the Lightweight 4, Lightweight 8 and Novice 8.
At Sunday’s end, UMass racked up third and fourth-place finishes in the Pair Grand Final, fourth in the Lightweight 4 Grand Final, second in the Novice 4 Third Level Final, third in the Third Level Final of the Varsity 4 and second in the Petite Final of the Varsity 4, in addition to Boucher’s win.
Though the Minutewomen started to struggle later on in the afternoon with a fifth-place finish in the Lightweight 8 and a sixth place finish in the Novice 8, they were able to rebound and finish strong with second-place finishes in the Grand Final of the Second Varsity 8 and the Petite Final of the First Varsity 8.
Senior rower Samantha Smith saw this weekend as an opportunity to continue building on the strong core abilities and skills necessary to take the A-10 championship next weekend.
“People have been switched in and out of boats, the speed has been getting faster and the crew has been getting more efficient,” Smith said.
Some key things that Smith feels need improving are to be quicker through the water, to keep from being outstroked as they had been in the past couple of races and to make it harder for their opponents to keep pace with them.
In looking ahead to the upcoming A-10 championship, Smith sees this past weekend as a means to work out the necessary tweaks to ensure UMass will have a promising outcome in Camden.
“We need to work as hard as we can and make sure everything is perfectly in tune [for the A-10 championship].”
The Minutewomen will be looking to win their 14th A-10 title in 15 years this upcoming weekend.
David Martin can be reached at email@example.com.