Mother Nature dealt the Hoos an unexpected temperature inversion over the past two weekends. In Princeton, NJ, where the weather is usually inhospitable, the race-day weather was unseasonably warm, and at least for the freshmen 8 event, the winds were relatively calm. On Saturday of the next weekend, at the Head of the Hooch, in Chattanooga, TN, where the weather is typically perfect every November 1st, the conditions were so cold and rough, the race officials cancelled every event on the Saturday schedule.
At the Princeton Chase, against some of the fastest competition in the nation, the varsity 8 did not perform as well as they would have liked. They were still run down from the Head of the Charles the weekend before, and were not satisfied with their Chase performance. Still, they finished 25th out of 63 crews—not too shabby for an off day. The 2V8, ever steady, rowed well, and finished 39th.
The two novice 8s used the Chase as a dress rehearsal for the Hooch. They had an exceptional first month and a half of the season learning the basics of the sport, and were eager to row in their first collegiate head race. They both rowe well, finishing 17th and 20th out of 31 crews—not a top-half performance, but a good prelude to the Hooch.
The next weekend, at the Head of the Hooch, all crews were excited to race on Saturday. The V8, especially, had a great Friday night tune-up row on the course. That crew, along with the other VRA 8s, were excited to mix it up with FIT, Michigan, Purdue, and Oklahoma City, among with the usual mix of SIRA-league crews.
Unfortunately nature had a different plan. Everyone waited at the course all day for the weather to turn, but it never did. Even when the water looked pretty good at the finish line, it was like and ocean at the start line.
So the team enjoyed dinner at Cracker Barrel, rested up, and hoped for good weather for Sunday!
The conditions were not perfect, but were rowable on Sunday morning. The varsity squad sent out a fleet of singles, pairs, and a quad. The varsity pair of team captain Garrett Thomas and Charley Hanley won their event, while the other crews enjoyed solid rows.
Three novice 8s competed in the Open 8 event, where they were outgunned by FIT’s, OKC’s, and other programs’ varsity 8s. Still, all three crews had excellent rows, dramatically improving their average splits from the Chase despite a longer course at the Hooch.
The entire team took a couple of days off and officially began the winter-training portion of the season on Wednesday morning. Everyone’s excited to start serious training and to have more combined varsity/novice practices. Should be a fun and productive few months ahead!