Men’s, women’s crew finds success on separate coasts

Skilled California teams test women’s crew, Harvard tops Bruno for Stein Cup victory

Contributing Writer
Sunday, April 9, 2017

Three thousand miles apart, the men’s and women’s crew teams took to the water this weekend to compete in Cambridge, Mass. and Sacramento, Calif., respectively. Challenged by rough conditions, the men’s crew team competed early Saturday morning against Harvard for the Stein Cup. The annual 2,000-meter race between the Ivy League rivals was held on the Charles River. Each school sent five boats to compete in separate races. Though the Bears won three of the five events, the Crimson took home the cup after winning the deciding varsity race.

On the water, the teams faced a challenging headwind. “Conditions were pretty wild to say the least,” said Peter Woolley ’17, who competed in the junior varsity boat. Woolley added that the strong wind can exacerbate mistakes. “If you make a single error, the headwind can throw the boat completely off course,” he said.

“The conditions made the races very slow and technically difficult,” said Daniel Meyer ’17.

Going into the race, the team knew it would be challenging and competitive. Harvard is Bruno’s biggest rival, and this is the biggest race of the year, Meyer said. Moreover, Harvard’s junior varsity team was the defending National Champion, adding another level of competition.

Although the varsity boat lost, junior varsity snuck by the Crimson boat to win an exhilarating race. Coming from a boat length behind at the halfway mark, the Bruno’s boat overcame the deficit to win by just under a second. The conditions made it “easy to lose your head,” Woolley said. “But we had five seniors who brought a very high level of maturity to the race.”

The team saw the race as a building block for its future goals. “We know Harvard is fast, so competing well with them is a great sign for our program,” Meyer said. “We see each race as building towards the Ivy Championship and finding the fastest combination of guys for each boat.”

“A number of seniors were in the Harvard (junior varsity) boat as well,” Woolley said. “We have been racing them for four years now, so it was fun to see them again and cap it off with a win.”

On the other side of the country, the women’s team competed in the Lake Natoma Invitational. Hosted by the Sacramento State Aquatics Center, the event featured nine teams from across the country. In addition to Brown, competitors included University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University.

“It was a great chance to see how we stack up against the California schools,” said Captain Monika Sobieszek ’17. West Coast schools are able to row on the water year round, giving them an advantage over East Coast schools forced inside by the winter, she said. The competition is “a great chance to see how we are doing at this point in the season,” she added.

Although Brown won all its races on the first day of competition, the second day saw more varied results. The second varsity and fourth varsity boats came in second while the main boat placed third in its races. Cal and Stanford, ranked second and sixth in the nation respectively, gave Bruno some very challenging competition, according to Sobieszek. But “second varsity and fourth varsity both beat Stanford, which is pretty incredible,” she said.

Looking forward, the men’s team faces Northeastern University and the women’s team will race against Cornell next Saturday at home on the Seekonk River in Providence. “Racing on the Seekonk is very different from racing out here in California,” Sobieszek said. “The conditions are always different and can be difficult. It will be fun coming back to Providence and racing at home in the challenging conditions.”

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