For the newest rowers to Radcliffe crew, the fall season could not have had a better start. After a decisive victory at the Head of the Housatonic on Oct. 6, the Black and White novice heavyweight boat took home another win at the Green Monster regatta on Saturday in Hanover, N.H., to remain perfect this season.
The Radcliffe lightweights took part in the same race, their first of the year, and edged out the other competing lightweight crew.
The Black and White crews highlighted the talents of freshmen this weekend. Of the nine women in the heavyweight boat, eight were freshmen, while the lightweight boat was made up entirely of freshmen.
“It felt really good for how much time we spent in the lineup,” said heavyweight freshman Erin Slatery, rowing in the eight seat. “We really executed our race plan, which was exciting especially for such a new crew, and it felt like everyone gave a great effort.”
The Green Monster, which opens the lightweight novice season and falls midway through the heavyweights’ novice season between the Head of the Housatonic and the Foot of the Charles, featured races between novice boats from schools in the Northeast, including Ivy rival Dartmouth, the host school.
“I think it’s really important to note the level of competition that shows up at that race,” said assistant heavyweight coach Wendy Wilbur. “It’s always really great competition from Dartmouth, Boston College, and UMass specifically.”
The Radcliffe heavyweights rowed the three-mile race in 16:36 to take first place out of 15 crews by a commanding 14-second margin. The Big Green entry came in second at 16:50, while Boston College boats took third and fourth, clocking in at 17:08 and 17:27, respectively.
With the win, the Black and White heavyweights remained unbeaten on the year.
“I think [being undefeated] just shows the strength of our team,” Wilbur said. “Our varsity team is doing a really great job being the leaders, and I think the freshman and novice groups are doing just a great job latching onto the atmosphere of the boat house and the goals of the team and being backups to those strong leaders on the varsity end.”
“We have one more novice race, so our goal for the season as novice is to stay undefeated,” added freshman Lauren Tracey, rowing in the seven seat. “This was a good stepping stone.”
Under what Slatery described as “perfect racing conditions,” the Big Green’s boat began the head race 15 seconds ahead of Radcliffe’s boat due to a staggered start, but throughout the course, the Black and White entry gained on Dartmouth’s crew.
“During the race, we moved up on the other boats, so we had a feeling that we won, but it was really different to hear that we won,” Tracey said. “We caught up to [Dartmouth] by the end of the race, and we almost passed them, so it was a fun race.”
The boat that traveled to race on the Connecticut River was a mix of both recruits and walk-ons, leading to an interesting combination of rowers in the Radcliffe heavyweight crew.
“We’re all really excited not only about the recruited freshmen we have this year but also the pool of walk-ons,” Slatery said. “We have some upperclassmen walk-ons, so we’re doing really great things—we also have some really strong athletic freshmen who are trying out the sport.”