This past weekend, the Massachusetts crew team traveled 100 miles south to the Housatonic River in Shelton, Conn., to compete in the Head of the Housatonic in its season opener.
The 16th annual event, which covers a 2.7 mile strip as the course, attracted rowers of all ages, from novice high school students to veteran masters, in one of the biggest races in New England has to offer.
Despite a rainout that delayed the Minutewomen’s opener one week and created scheduling difficulties last week, they still put together a solid showing in Connecticut.
Overall, UMass competed with eight boats in six races against some of New England’s best college rowers.
Junior Emily Boucher, a United States U-23 team member, started things off for the Minutewomen in the morning with a respectable performance in the Lightweight Single, finishing in fourth place with a time of 20 minutes, 32.95 seconds, about 27 seconds behind the leader.
Following Boucher were seniors Elizabeth Euiler and Chelsea Wakeham, who faced off against three crews from Radcliffe in the Lightweight Double. The duo finished in third place, clocking in at 20:36.81.
UMass entered two Varsity 4 boats into competition as well. Carly Payne and senior Alexandra DiMatteo finished in a solid fifth place with a time of 19:14.28.
The Minutewomen’s B team, coxed by Em Chiu, finished in 11th place with a time of 20:55.07. Both Varsity 4 boats finished ahead of familiar A-10 competitor Fordham, which placed in 17th.
During the afternoon session, sophomore Tory Gordan and graduate student Megan Donovan competed as a double and finished in second place with a time of 23:18.35.
Rounding out the day of competition for the varsity crew were the Varsity 8 races, in which UMass entered two boats.
The first boat, coxed by Chiu, finished in 12th place with a time of 17:58.44. Just behind them was the second Minutewomen boat, coxed by Payne, finishing in 13th place and clocking in at 18:03.00.
On the novice level, UMass also finished respectably, led by Jilland Jack, the Novice 4 boat placed in fourth with a time of 23:22.10 behind two Trinity boats and Fordham.
The Minutwomen will look to build off of their solid start to the season when they return home for Homecoming Weekend to host the Pumpkin Head Regatta this Saturday morning on the Connecticut River.
Stephen Hewitt can be reached at email@example.com.