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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Men’s Rowing Drops in Oars for Spring Sprint Season

Colgate Athletics

As warm spring days melt the frost on Lake Morraine, the Colgate University men’s rowing team hits the water in full stride, gearing up for a spring racing schedule packed with fierce competition.

The Raiders debuted at the Murphy Cup on April 6, racing against Temple University on New Jersey’s Cooper River. The varsity eight (V8) logged a time of 6:08.23, just under eight seconds behind Temple’s V8 team. Colgate’s varsity four (V4) crossed the finish line at 7:27.60, over 40 seconds behind the Owls, who posted a time of 6:00.70 to take the victory.

Ranked No. 24 of 25 in the IRCA D1/D2 V8+ Preseason Coaches Poll, the Colgate V8+ barrels into the racing season as an underdog team. They hope to continue their success from last spring, where they earned victories at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship, the Knecht Cup and clinched a top-twenty spot at the IRA National Championship.

Sophomore member of the first V8 team Luca Williams sees excellent potential in this year’s team, although there are noticeable differences this season from the 2022-2023 season. 

“This year, we are experiencing more pressure on the team to step up. Not only is it a younger group of guys, as we had a significant group of seniors graduate last spring and this fall, but also the team is small right now. It has put me and others in positions where we are now leading the team in how it functions, which has been an exciting but formidable process,” Williams said. “A bigger team would be preferable in any circumstance, but we want people who will be there next to you giving 105 percent, and so it simply is not for everyone.”

Despite losing at the season opener, the team’s confidence remains high. According to sophomore Eldon “Cub” Scott, a member of the first V8 team, growing pains are to be expected, and the team is working harder than ever to prepare for the upcoming weeks of competition.

“The first race is always a little rough, as we have to get used to rowing together in a more stressful and intense environment. We had a few issues [on April 6], but it gave us plenty of focus points that we were able to improve upon throughout the week. We concentrated on some very hard workouts to remind ourselves that we are each extremely dedicated to the team and to rebuilding self-confidence,” Scott said.

With regattas in the fall, training in the winter and, now, the spring racing season, the sport certainly requires great dedication. For team members like sophomore Charlie Jones, a member of the first V8 team, discipline goes hand in hand with passion. 

“The guys who can deal with the strain and stay disciplined do it because they love the sport. That’s at least why I can do it. […] I love the training, waking up early, competing with myself, with the team and at races. Having a space where I can — where I have to — push myself to the limit every day is great,” Jones said. “The team and team culture is often difficult, but I am here to row. It’s my job, and I want to get my job done […]. The satisfaction of rowing is unmatched.”

On the weekend of April 13 to April 14, the team appeared at the Knecht Cup in Cherry Hill, N.J. Going into the weekend, the Raiders were enthusiastic about a chance to redeem themselves after the Murphy Cup loss.

“I think we are in a very good place mentally and ready to have a second shot against Temple this coming weekend,” Scott said. “Every day, we feel more comfortable in the boat, and we have done a great job building trust this past week. Morale is high, and we are excited to see what we can do.”

Due to high winds, Saturday’s racing was canceled. Colgate competed Sunday in the V4+ and V8 races.  

The V8 boat earned first place in their semifinal race with a time of 5:57, outdistancing Skidmore College, Iona University, Fairfield University and Mercyhurst University by more than seven seconds and earning them a slot in the final. They faced group frontrunners Temple and La Salle University and runner-ups Trinity College, the University of Michigan and Iona in the final, finishing fourth out of six teams with a time of 5:59:57.   

Revenge was out of reach for the V4+ boat, which crossed the finish line in second place at 7:06:52, trailing seven seconds behind the Temple’s boat (6:58:88).

Victory remains elusive for the Raiders thus far, but their times are improving and they are placing high in competition. The season is far from over. Next weekend, the team will head south for the SIRA Championship in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and will return to the Cooper River for the Dad Vail Regatta from May 10 to May 11. 

With so much on the horizon, Assistant Coach Eric Summers is confident in their prospects for the rest of the season. 

This is a passionate group of athletes that have shown a real commitment to the team. It’s a young group, so we will have our ups and downs as we go through the season looking for boat speed, but as long as we stay committed, we do have the talent to be quite fast by the end of the season at our championship races,” Summers said.

Williams shared his coach’s optimism, despite the underclassmen-heavy roster.

“While we have gotten off to a slower start in the season, since it’s a young crew, there is a lot more room for improvement as we spend more time in the boat together throughout the season,” Williams said. “Last year, we saw five veterans of the varsity eight that would be joined by some young and fast talent. That boat got its footing very early in the season, and this is not necessarily the case — it just means that it will require more experience to reach its full potential.”

This year’s IRA National Championship will be held May 31 to June 2 in Princeton, N.J.

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