UMass Cruises past MIT

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ The Massachusetts rowing team followed up its biggest win of the season with a strong performance on Saturday, defeating the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a day of head-to-head competition on the shores of the Charles River in Boston.

On the heels of capturing their 13th Atlantic 10 Championship, the Minutewomen displayed a sense of focus that left UMass assistant coach Alex Binkowski satisfied.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘Overall, I was very pleased with all the girls’ performance,’ said Binkowski. ‘They are continuing to row hard. You’re always concerned about a letdown after a big win, but the girls were able to keep the intensity up.’

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Lead by a trio of seniors, (Airlina Burrill, Andrea Morand and Samantha Smith) the first varsity eight was able to defeat the MIT squad in the first race of the day as they recorded a time of 7:34.5.The Minutewomen’s second varsity eight also emerged victorious in their race finishing with a time of 7:49.2.MIT’s first and second varsity finished with times of 7:46.0 and 8:11:3 second,s respectively. The varsity lightweight eight also won their race for the Minutewomen, competing a sweep in the varsity team’s dominance.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Saturday’s event marks the last heat before the Eastern Conference Athletic (ECAC) Championships which will be held on Saturday, April 2. Therefore, the race in Boston was important to the team’s preparation for the big event.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘Every time we hit the water, we look at it as a chance to improve,’ said Binkowski

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Saturday’s race in the Charles granted the team an opportunity to be among some of the strongest rowing programs in the region. Saturday also marked the first day of the Charles River Challenge, a race that included schools such as Boston University and Northeastern.

‘The Charles River has a history special to rowing in general. Binkowski said. Sometimes we feel a little hidden out here in western Massachusetts. It’s a nice opportunity to race and compete with everyone around.’

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ The Minutewomen’s novice squad also gained valuable experience this weekend; though they are not ready to take on the junior varsity team yet. In what Binkowski described as the weekend performance that stood out most, the junior varsity of the Minutewomen slipped by the novice team in a race for inter-squad pride.

MIT did not have a novice team so the two teams faced off against one another. The race served as a barometer to measure how both teams stack up this late in the season.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘The novice did well. They are continuing to learn how to race.’ Binkowski said. ‘I was pleased to see the JV to step up and took charge of the race. It was a good showing.’

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ UMass will look to take its game to another level this weekend when its heads to New Jersey to compete in the ECACs.

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Jeffrey Engmann can be reached at [email protected]