The Massachusetts rowing team traveled to Dartmouth, New Hampshire to compete in the Green Monster regatta Sunday to wrap up its 2015 fall schedule.
The Minutewomen built off of the confidence gained after last weekend’s solid performance in New Jersey. At the Green Monster, UMass raced two different boats and finished ninth and 10th respectively. There were six teams at the event, each sporting two or three boats and Dartmouth took home first place at its home meet.
Sunday’s competition was a novice race, meaning only freshmen were allowed to compete. For many of the Minutewomen competing, it was their first time racing on the water. Nerves were to be expected, as most of the rowers were not used to the collegiate level of competition. UMass used the meet to get most rowers’ first races out of the way, as well as to see different rowers in action.
Assistant coach Megan McHugh was very pleased with how her team performed.
“I think we rowed really well,” McHugh said. “We finished ninth and 10th, which was lower down, but we are learning. I was happy with how they performed today.”
McHugh was also pleased with how the Minutewomen performed as a team Sunday and not as a group of individuals.
“I wouldn’t say any one individual (stood out), but I would say everyone had a really strong performance (as a team),” she said. “We raced with a lot of control. This was a lot of the girls first race, so they were kind of nervous, but they performed well and executed the race we had practiced.”
Not everyone on the Minutewomen were recruited to come to UMass for rowing, so Sunday’s meet was an opportunity for some of the walk-on rowers to gain valuable experience on the water.
“We had recruited freshmen, but we have a group of girls who walk-on girls who have never rowed before.” McHugh said. “They really learn the sport from scratch, so this was their ninth race to end the fall.”
A novice race is a great way to get rowers their first race experience. It also gives them an opportunity to compete against people in the same situation as they are, taking more of the pressure off and the coaches a way to evaluate their roster, and see the improvement the rowers have made throughout the fall.
“I think this was a great experience for this group of girls.” McHugh said. “They were able to get their first race under their belt and get the feeling of being out there on race day out of the way. It’s a strong way to end the fall and a great way to go into winter training.”
Although the team will be training throughout the winter, the Minutewomen won’t be able to get back out on the water until February, depending on the weather. UMass has used the fall season to prepare, and Sunday’s meet provided valuable experience and confidence heading into the spring season.
UMass’ first spring meet is scheduled for April 1 against UConn in Hadley.
Thomas Johnston can be reached at [email protected]