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Athlete of the Week: Men's Heavyweight Crew

By Anastasios G. Skalkos, Contributing Writer

The 37th annual Head of the Charles Regatta brought some of the best rowers from around the world to Cambridge last weekend to compete in the nation’s most well-known rowing competition.

While tourists, vendors, and students packed the streets of Cambridge to take in the sights and sounds of the weekend’s events, the Harvard eight-man heavyweight boat was focused on business.

Manned by captain Wayne Pommen, Eliot Hodges, Justin Bosley, Mike Skey, Matt Daggett, Mike Blomquist, Hugo Mallinson, Artour Samsonov and coxswain Jim Omartian, the heavyweight boat did not disappoint the hometown fans, finishing third overall and first among collegiate teams.

The Crimson pulled in behind the first-place US National Team (14:09.460) and the second-place German National Team (14:21.179). Harvard’s time of 14:28.240 not only put them in first place among the collegiate boats, but also placed them ahead of the Dutch National Team and the French lightweight National Team.

“We’re definitely pleased to have beaten two national teams,” Pommen said yesterday. “We benefitted a lot from racing last weekend in Rochester [at the Stoneurst Capital Invitational Regatta]."

“It also helped that we didn’t have to worry about passing or being passed because it allowed us to race our own race,” Pommen added. “Our coxswain Jim Omartian did an excellent steering job.”

Once the team settled into form, they were able to pull away from collegiate rivals Wisconsin and Brown.

“It took us a little time to settle into a rhythm. Once we did, we just kept eating up distance,” Omartian said. “I think we’re going to do very well this season, and hopefully we’ll win the Eastern Sprints.”

The Crimson finished second overall in the Eastern Sprints last year, losing to Princeton by less than three seconds.

In addition to the first-place finish by the first eight-man heavyweight boat, the second Harvard heavyweight boat finished top among the collegiate second boats and fifteenth overall.

“We couldn’t ask for a better start to the season,” Pommen said.

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