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Boucher leads Minutewomen to impressive performances in Boston

Courtesy UMass Media Relations

Leaving difficult river and weather conditions in its rearview mirror, the Massachusetts rowing team traveled to Boston, Mass., this past weekend to compete in the Head of the Charles, one of the most prestigious rowing spectacles in North America.

After arriving to the area on Friday, UMass coach Jim Dietz and the Minutewomen waited until Sunday to compete on the waters of the Charles River against some of the best squads they will face all year.

UMass brought three of its best boats to Boston for the trip and displayed a solid performance under cooperative and good racing weather.

Kicking off things on Sunday for the Minutewomen was junior and United States U-23 member Emily Boucher in the Lightweight Single event.

Racing to an official time of 20 minutes, 22.396 seconds, she finished in seventh out of 20 competitors and also guaranteed herself a spot in next year’s event by placing 3.8 percent out of first place.

The Champ 4+ boat also engaged in competition, generating a time of 18:54.854 and a 12th place finish, which was good for eight spots ahead of Atlantic 10-rival Fordham.

Rounding out the day for UMass was the Lightweight 8+, which finished in ninth place at a time of 17:44.182.

Dietz expressed the key of aggressiveness for the solid effort of the Minutewomen crew and that the squad really came to race, especially Boucher.

“Following Emily’s race was extremely exciting,” Dietz said. “It was very difficult starting far back in the pack as she did, but for her you could see the aggression because of the number of athletes she passed. I think she passed five or six athletes over the course of the race. That’s making up a tremendous amount of time,” Dietz continued.

Dietz was not short to praise Boucher for her aggressive efforts, but also multiplied it towards the entire team and valued it as something they could build on for the rest of the season.

“Coming out of the weekend, I’d say we saw three boats race and that’s important. They didn’t participate, they didn’t just row down the course, they raced. And that’s the positive note that I want to go away with,” Dietz explained.

With the most important race of the fall season in the Head of the Charles now behind the crew, UMass will look forward to building off of its solid performance in Boston to put itself in good shape for the spring.

Perhaps one of the most important factors as the group moves forward is keeping the level of competition within the team up with the addition of intersquad racing on top of its weekly races to re-evaluate the roster and round out the depth of the team as it heads into the spring, into A-10 competition and ultimately the A-10 championship.

“The Head of the Charles is always the focal point of the fall, and we’ve been spending the majority of our time with those three boats that were going to the Charles,” Dietz explained.

“Those were the guys that we were training in the morning hours we were training other people in the afternoon. Now we’re going to start to mix the two groups back together, starting to re-evaluate and do a lot more intersquad racing amongst ourselves to see where people can really move up.”

The Minutewomen will continue their fall season this Saturday as they travel to Saratoga, N.Y. to compete in the Head of the Fish.

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at shewitt@student.umass.edu.

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